Boston IT Services Experts Explain Virtualization

Dennis Foote – Systems Engineer - Boston IT Services

I have been using VMware and Hyper-V for some time and there is no better time to blog about it then when a fresh project comes out of the oven.

So, what is virtualization?  Virtualization (or a virtual machine) is pretty much software that allows you to put another PC on your current PC.  If you have a physical PC and you would like to add a PC to your office or home, you can simply add a virtual PC on your existing PC.  This will cut down on cost and extra hardware to trip over.

When does virtualization make sense for you?   Say you would like to buy a new PC and you want Windows 7 but you still have some applications that are not compatible with it, or maybe you have two PCs running two different operating systems (perhaps Windows on one and Linux on the other).  In this case you can set up a virtual PC on the Windows PC and install any other operating system you may want. This would allow you to switch back and forth as you please without having to boot another PC or own any other hardware.

Over the last two weeks, I have been working with a client that was using a KVM switch to work between two computers. When doing this, the downside is that the client can only utilize some of the power from one PC and some of the power from the other.  With the power of virtualization, I was able to take all the information from one PC (including the programs, settings, and all the documents using the virtual PC) and put them on the PC that the client mostly uses throughout the day.  The client can then seamlessly open the second PC while having the comfort of being on the mostly used one.  

Virtualization is often being used these days for everything from servers to workstations to notebooks. Servers are great to use virtually, because almost 65% of the time you are not utilizing all of the resources of your server and can save when it comes to time, hardware, space, electricity and cooling cost. 

There is a few different companies that are leading the race to the virtualization promised land - one being VMware and the other being Microsoft’s Hyper-V.  They both have a user-friendly interface along with what seems to be a never-ending goal to keep up with the changing times; your hardware and software environments run smoothly.  I recommend that if you have multible PCs and are not sure what would work best, do some research or hire someone like > ME< to see what your options are.  You could end up over-paying for something that would pay for itself over time.