What Is Server Virtualization Solution & How Can Businesses Benefit From It?
Author: Haziqa Sajid
Computer virtualization solution–a concept introduced in the 1960s which started gaining traction only in the early 2000s during the web revolution. The internet saw a massive rise in the number of users, and a similar trend was seen in the volume of data being generated and the development of web applications.
When these web applications are to be deployed over the internet, they are hosted on centralized computers called servers. Several providers, such as V2 Cloud, offer these servers as a service.
Today web applications have reached a state where a single server setup is no longer feasible. This is why the concept of server virtualization was introduced. Let’s discuss it below in detail.
We’ll start by discussing servers and why single-server setups are not feasible for modern computing requirements. Then we’ll discuss the server virtualization solution, its types, benefits, and disadvantages.
What Is a Server?
Servers are computers connected to the internet. Users access these computers via a remote connection. These servers have a set of resources (RAM, disk space, processor model) that are allocated according to the application’s requirements.
A server is designed to serve its user in whatever way the user requires. Servers can be used to:
- Host entire applications
- Host micro-services for an application
- Host databases/datacenters for organizations
- GPU cloud servers are used for machine learning training
Companies that offer cloud services perform most of the server setup for users. For instance, V2 Cloud allows users to deploy their virtual desktop systems in less than 20 minutes without requiring extensive training or certification.
Limitations in a Single Server Setup
Today, CPUs are manufactured with a very high core count. The technical specification of V2 Cloud’s servers with up to 32 CPU cores and 128 gigabytes of RAM.
Most web applications can not utilize the full potential of these massive CPUs and high core counts. If your application has a large user base, your server may not be able to fulfill simultaneous requests in due time. Most web applications can spawn multiple threads to process all the requests in the queue, but they are not designed to utilize multiple cores.
Due to the additional traffic, users can face the following problems with the web application:
- Server downtimes
The entire server may become unresponsive, causing the application to hang up and become inaccessible to all users. Besides high network traffic, server downtimes can occur due to scheduled maintenance.
- Page crashing
If a particular portion of your application is receiving a lot of traffic, it is likely for that specific page to crash if the server is unable to handle the requests.
- Slow loading times
With multiple requests in the queue, the server will take its sweet time processing all of them. Due to this, users might have to wait long before the page is loaded or data is retrieved.
The above-mentioned problems create a very troublesome experience for the users and leave a negative impression on them, especially on those who are visiting your application for the first time. A bad impression maps to decreasing user retention rates, which can result in a loss of revenue.
What Is Server Virtualization?
When your application faces any of the aforementioned problems, a standard go-to solution is adding more servers to your IT Infrastructure. Even though this is a perfectly working solution, it comes with several problems, such as the added cost of the server, maintenance of the server, and additional electricity consumption.
The solution– “Server virtualization.”
Server virtualization is the process of dividing a server machine into multiple virtual machines, each of which acts as a completely new server with the help of software.
Earlier, we discussed how modern CPUs have a high core count. This high core count allows a physical server to be divided into VMs (Virtual Machines).
Each Virtual Machine(VM) can be allotted a fixed number of cores so that the performance of each core can be maximized. Similar to cores, other resources, such as RAM and disk space, are also divided amongst the VMs. The software which handles server virtualization and division of resources is called a Hypervisor.
Let’s discuss some benefits of server virtualization solutions.
Benefits of Server Virtualization Solutions
Server virtualization solution creates independent virtual environments where users can execute applications with greater processing speeds. Some other benefits include:
- No wastage of resources
Most web applications do not utilize the full power of modern CPUs. A large portion of this resource goes to waste. Enabling server virtualization allows you to use the entire server for different purposes.
- Cost-effective IT expansion
Instead of buying new servers and going through the entire setup procedure, users can simply create divisions amongst their own servers and use them as separate machines.
- Easy micro-services deployment
The modern web application architecture is divided into multiple smaller applications called microservices. These microservices are usually deployed on different servers and communicate with each other using APIs.
- Less network latency
When deployed on different physical servers, communication issues might occur due to network outages for any particular server. This is not an issue when you utilize a server virtualization solution since all your microservices are still on the same physical machine.
- Cut down on energy consumption
Since we are utilizing a single physical server instead of three or four, we are cutting down on electricity consumption and its subsequent cost.
Types of Server Virtualization Solution
There are three main types of server virtualization solutions. These are designed for different use cases, each of which is discussed in detail below.
This kind of virtualization is achieved via a hypervisor (which we discussed earlier).
In full virtualization, each VM acts as a completely independent machine, with each virtual server completely unaware of each other and even unaware of the hypervisor software.
Each virtual server can have any OS installed as long as the hardware supports it. Each of these VMs are assigned resources by the hypervisor.
Para-virtualization is very similar to full virtualization, except that virtual servers are aware of each other in this mode.
Para-virtualization allows guest machines to run on a modified operating system. This OS is called modified because it has a specific driver attached to it, which communicates with the hypervisor whenever the virtual server needs to access any resources. This communication is done via a ‘hypercall.’
A hypercall is a unique communication mechanism similar to a system call. With a defined set of inputs and outputs, It allows the hypervisor to communicate with the operating system whenever it needs to execute a process or needs access to certain resources.
This form of virtualization is done by the host OS itself. The OS creates virtual servers within the main server and manages all the resources.
OS virtualization does not require hypervisor software, as the OS itself acts as a hypervisor.
This is much simpler to implement and maintain, although it does have one major disadvantage; all the virtual servers must run the same host operating system.
Disadvantages of Server Virtualization Solution
As valuable as it may seem, the server virtualization Solution does have some drawbacks.
- Single point of failure
If you decide to host all your micro-services on a single physical server (although virtualized), you will always be at risk of losing everything if the physical server runs into a hardware fault. This can be very dangerous if your data center is hosted on the same machine (and not backed up elsewhere).
- Setup and maintenance cost
Virtualization can be challenging to set up and maintain if you do it yourself. You will need IT experts to do this for you.
So What’s Best for You?
If you are a business owner and your web application is facing any of the problems mentioned above, then a server virtualization solution might be something you would want to consider. However, setting up cloud desktops on your existing server can be a very tricky and challenging task.
V2 Cloud’s server virtualization software lets you focus on your business needs and allows you to leave the technical stuff to our IT experts.
We offer virtual machine setups in less than ten clicks. With transparent pricing and enhanced security modules, V2 Cloud services are the most reliable you can ever find. To learn more, book a demo today or try our 7-day free trial right now.