What is Virtualization?

Virtualization is the process of creating a software-based (or virtual) representation of something rather than a physical one.

Virtualization can apply to applications, servers, storage, and networks and is the single most effective way to reduce IT expenses while boosting efficiency and agility for all size businesses.

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Benefits of Virtualization

Virtualization can increase IT agility, flexibility, and scalability while creating significant cost savings. Workloads get deployed faster, performance and availability increases and operations become automated, resulting in IT that’s simpler to manage and less costly to own and operate. Additional benefits include:

  • Reduce capital and operating costs.
  • Minimize or eliminate downtime.
  • Increase IT productivity, efficiency, agility and responsiveness.
  • Provision applications and resources faster.
  • Enable business continuity and disaster recovery.
  • Simplify data center management.
  • Build a true Software-Defined Data Center

How Virtualization Works

IT organizations are challenged by the limitations of today’s x86 servers, which are designed to run just one operating system and application at a time. As a result, even small data centers have to deploy many servers, each operating at just 5 to 15 percent of capacity—highly inefficient by any standard.

Virtualization uses software to simulate the existence of hardware and create a virtual computer system. Doing this allows businesses to run more than one virtual system – and multiple operating systems and applications — on a single server. This can provide economies of scale and greater efficiency.

The Virtual Machine

A virtual computer system is known as a “virtual machine” (VM):  a tightly isolated software container with an operating system and application inside.  Each self-contained VM is completely independent. Putting multiple VMs on a single computer enables several operating systems and applications to run on just one physical server, or “host”.

A thin layer of software called a hypervisor decouples the virtual machines from the host and dynamically allocates computing resources to each virtual machine as needed.

Key Properties of Virtual Machines

VMs have the following characteristics, which offer several benefits.


  • Run multiple operating systems on one physical machine
  • Divide system resources between virtual machines


  • Provide fault and security isolation at the hardware level
  • Preserve performance with advanced resource controls


  • Save the entire state of a virtual machine to files
  • Move and copy virtual machines as easily as moving and copying files

Hardware Independence

  • Provision or migrate any virtual machine to any physical server

Server Consolidation

Using server virtualization, a company can maximize the use of its server resources and reduce the number of servers required. The result is server consolidation, which improves efficiency and cuts costs.

It’s Not Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is not the same thing as virtualization; rather, it’s something you can do using virtualization. Cloud computing describes the delivery of shared computing resources (software and/or data) on demand through the Internet. Whether or not you are in the cloud, you can start by virtualizing your servers and then move to cloud computing for even more agility and increased self-service.

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Getting Started

Ready for the next steps? Learn about the various types of virtualization and find resources to help you begin your cost effective solution.

Server Virtualization

Most servers operate at less than 15 percent of capacity, leading to server sprawl and complexity. Server virtualization addresses these inefficiencies by allowing multiple operating systems to run on a single physical server as virtual machines, each with access to the underlying server’s computing resources.

The next step is to aggregate a server cluster into a single consolidated resource – which improves overall efficiency and reduces cost. Server virtualization also enables faster workload deployment, increased application performance, and higher availability.

Network Virtualization

Network virtualization is the complete reproduction of a physical network in software. Applications run on the virtual network exactly the same as if on a physical network. Network virtualization presents logical networking devices and services—logical ports, switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers, VPNs and more—to connected workloads. Virtual networks offer the same features and guarantees of a physical network with the operational benefits and hardware independence of virtualization.

Desktop Virtualization

Deploying desktops as a managed service gives you the opportunity to respond quicker to changing needs and opportunities. You can reduce costs and increase service by quickly and easily delivering virtualized desktops and applications to branch offices, outsourced and offshore employees and mobile workers on iPad and Android tablets.

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Small and midsize organizations face unique IT challenges. Your entire company runs on a few important applications but reliable business technology can be complex and expensive. VMware makes IT simpler to manage and use, highly reliable and a lot less costly – for tens of thousands of small and midsize companies. Our solutions can do the same for you, so you can stay focused on managing and growing your business.

Key Solutions for Small & Midsize Business

  1. Server Consolidation
    Consolidate your apps on far fewer physical servers to optimize resource utilization and deliver up to 50 percent savings in capital and operating costs.
  2. Operations Management
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  3. Business Continuity
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  4. Desktop Management
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  • Extend to the cloud to increase agility, and to reduce risk and complexity.
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  • Take advantage of SaaS for easy and secure access to applications.

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As you plan to leverage SME cloud as part of your IT strategy, find out why modernizing your on-premises infrastructure should be part of your strategy. Discover the benefits of having an infrastructure that spans across private and public cloud.

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Infrastructure Modernization Services

Most infrastructures are virtualized to some degree today. However, our VMware Professional Services consultants and solution architects offer an important distinction: a cultural mindset that converges compute, network and storage. We take a holistic approach that creates foundational capabilities for modernization.

Infrastructure modernization services can help you:

  • Virtualize compute, storage and network assets.
  • Build basic templates for server deployment.
  • Implement infrastructure monitoring for performance and capacity.
  • Provide automatic recovery from hardware failures.


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Multiple clouds and distributed applications using microservices are making application infrastructure more complex. For maximum visibility and control, you need to separate infrastructure from the applications running on top of it. Doing this enables micro-segmentation and the encryption of data at rest, which aids in aligning security controls with applications.

Secure Application Infrastructure Services can help you:

  • Abstract and pool network resources.
  • Visualize application communication across the network.
  • Provide workload and network introspection.
  • Provide next-generation anti-virus/anti-malware integration.
  • Secure ecosystem integrations and optimize infrastructure for regulatory requirements.
  • Provide granular application and isolation through micro-segmentation.
  • Adjust the operating and organizational models for next-generation security.

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