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Reconsidering the way we think about ‘virtualization’

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Ever so often I will see an article that discusses ‘how few people know about virtualization’ or ‘how many people do not run virtualized environments’ and I do have to admit a part of me shakes my head at these articles. Mainly because those articles (in my mind) do not properly describe the ‘virtualization’ they are trying to talk about. They simply mention the term ‘virtualization’ and continue on when the real fact of the matter is I’m sure 99% of us in the IT world are dealing with virtualization right and don’t even realize it.

Whenever people discuss virtualization it is typically going to involve VMWare, Hyper-V, or Citrix, however when you consider what virtualization really is, it has been around decades going back to Partitions on an AS400 midrange system. I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking of a way summarize ‘virtualization’ and I think this one might have been one of the best

“Providing multiple services securely and isolated over the same physical hardware”

(There is probably a flaw in that statement but anyway) Now if we think about that for a minute and then think about network designs (Yes, I had to bring up network design, you knew this was going somewhere network related right?!) we virtualize our networks to an extent:

  • VLANs Virtual LAN – Providing multiple Local Area Networks over the same physical switch
  • VRF Virtual Routing Forwarding – Providing multiple routing instances within the same physical router. A layer 3 VLAN if you will.
  • VDC Virtual Device Context – Similar to VRF’s but for Nexus/Data Centers.

We even have virtual Wireless LAN Controllers, Virtual Firewalls, Virtual switches, and so forth

Now when you consider VLANs, VRF, & VDCs a virtualization technology I think almost everyone will attest to being a familiar with virtualization in one aspect or another. So I think it is time we stopped considering virtualization something new and something that is limited to ‘servers’ as it has really been with us for a while, we’ve just been abbreviating for years!

(That and the fact VMWare/Hyper-V have been out there for years now)

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

August 21, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Posted in Virtualization

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