What is platform virtualization?
A platform is an operating system running on top of some hardware. In order to run an app or any kind of a program, you need an operating system and hardware. If there is not a cost problem, then this is a standard, ideal scenario.
Let’s assume, that for some reason, a company wants to cut its expenses by as much as possible. Either they are new on the market or they are trying to make an overall expenditure cutting, or any other reason.
In theory, that company doesn’t really care about the platform structure, or even less about the hardware. All they care about is that their app is running and that they have the necessary service it provides. Virtualization first came to play here when developers tried to make a particular company’s app work without an actual hardware background, making it much more cost efficient and safer for any usage. This process is also known as cloud transformation.
A very good example of a platform virtualization is a food restaurant that offers online orders and delivery. The standard way of ordering and purchasing food from that restaurant is if you were to walk in yourself physically, place and order, wait for it, pick it up, and pay with cash. If the restaurant offers you an online gateway for ordering food from it, you are naturally not required to physically be present in the restaurant. Or, more accurately, neither does the restaurant need to exist in a standard way. All they really need is to collect your online order, a place to cook your food, a delivery method, and a payment method.
Again, when you walk in yourself physically, you will pay with physical money, whether cash or plastic. But, when you order over an app, you will simply put down your payment info and the payment will be made virtually.
The way payments are made here is very important.
Now that we understand the difference between a physical service and a virtual one, we can apply a similar logic to computing, where the virtualization of computing resources means you don’t actually need a physical computing resource, such as a computer. Instead, you get a virtual instance of it.
But how is this achieved?
Typically, the hardware resources, which are the CPU, memory disk, network, and such which are all a part of a computer, are offered as software entities. Essentially, they are a set of files which can be manipulated using some programmatic means. In that way they offer a form of abstraction. Basically this lets you partition the physical host in to a logically isolated environment, to create virtual machines. These are called: virtual machines (VM) or containers.
How is virtualization achieved?
A special layer of software, which is known as the hypervisor or VMM, is offered to provide the virtualization. It could also be offered by some facilities and the operating system itself, where the user would be able to run multiple isolated user space instances off of the operating system, giving the feeling of multiple isolated virtual machines running on single software.
The best professional virtual platforms
Naturally, these virtual platforms were highly sought after by large companies and organizations, and small businesses alike. They immediately became the new thing, and since then several developers have risen to lead the cutting edge of this tech.
Probably four of the best virtual platform developers are: VMware, Microsoft, Red Hat, and Citrix.
While they are all comparable, each with its own set of advantages, the two who seem to cause the most ruckus are VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V.
There’s a lot of talk about which is better and in what way, so let’s delve into the two a little deeper.
vSphere is a cloud computing virtualization platform from VMware. It is comprised of all of the components in the operating system that come together to make VMware’s Enterprise Virtualization Platform.
vSphere was born when VMware was developing the VMware Infrastructure 3.5. The latest vSphere version is 6.5, released in 2016.
The experience is dramatically simplified and the IT is at its most efficient stage it has been so far. It has a comprehensive built-in security system, for securing data, infrastructure, and access. It also provides a universal app platform allowing the user to run any application, anywhere.
- Minimal system compact
- Small disk footprint size
- RAM over-commitment (increased memory utilization)
- Transparent page sharing
- Memory ballooning (dynamically shifting memory from idle virtual machines to active ones)
- Efficient network and storage access by virtual machines
- VMDirectPath I/O (virtual machines have direct access to physical network and storage)
- Distributor power management
- The highest number of patches and updates, all required
- Only a file-level backup and recovery available
- Requires a third-party database for keeping the info of storage and management
- A high price tag
It is a hypervisor for the Windows Server, allowing the administrator to create virtual environments and machines, and effectively manage them. It allows a single physical CPU to run multiple operating systems, completely isolated from one another. It was introduced in the 2008 windows server.
As it is one of the main competitors to the vSphere, it does come with its own set of pros and cons:
- Cheaper than the VMware vSphere
- Dynamic memory management
- No downtime for maintenance
- Simple live migrations
- Back-up is very easy
- Active Directory offers comprehensive security
- Possibly more challenging host interaction
- Poor support for Linux OS
- All VMs need to be offline for security update reboot routine
- Minimalistic interface
Comparison of the two
Hyper-V is known for scalability, good performance, comprehensible security, flexible infrastructure, high availability, and resilience.
While Vmware’s vSphere is more expensive, IT developers and operators justify the price by claiming that Hyper-V is actually behind the vSphere in every stage of development, and that it is using vSphere as a guide for which way they should grow.
Unofficial data and close inspections revealed that VMware has a larger user base than Hyper-V. About 70% of the users favored VMware, while a little over 20% went for Hyper-V. The other 10% was shared by other developers.
More unofficial data reviled that VMware vSphere was heavily favored by large organizations and enterprises, while smaller ones liked using Hyper-V more.
We may summarize that the favor leans towards VMware vSphere in general usage and rough figures. But, there is also a general belief that Hyper-V is better at supporting the hybrid cloud environment, simply because it is cheaper and therefore more accessible by third party users and the public.
Whether or not this is true, it is a fact that the vSphere is the best option for cloud transformation. This is probably why big companies use it more and why it enjoys such fame amongst the conglomerates. Large companies need an effective and safe way to migrate its IT infrastructure, should the need arise, and therefore they will always turn to the better option, no matter the cost.
It seems VMware vSphere comes out on top in this virtualization game, but we must not forget that Hyper-V is cheaper and despite what the general opinion may be, not that far behind.
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