How to understand server virtualization.

How To Understand Server Virtualization.

Server virtualization is the process of dividing a physical server into multiple unique and isolated virtual servers by means of a software application. Each virtual server can run its own operating systems independently.


Benefits of Server Virtualization:

  • Higher server ability

  • Cheaper operating costs

  • Eliminate server complexity

  • Increased application performance

  • Deploy workload quicker


Three Kinds of Server Virtualization:

Server virtualization has revolutionized the way organizations manage their IT infrastructure, enabling them to efficiently utilize resources, enhance scalability, and optimize server management. Three prominent approaches to server virtualization are full virtualization, para-virtualization, and OS-level virtualization. Each of these methods has distinct characteristics, benefits, and limitations, catering to different needs and requirements in the realm of virtualized environments.

  • Full Virtualization: Full virtualization uses a hypervisor, a type of software that directly communicates with a physical server’s disk space and CPU. The hypervisor monitors the physical server’s resources and keeps each virtual server independent and unaware of the other virtual servers. It also relays resources from the physical server to the correct virtual server as it runs applications. The biggest limitation of using full virtualization is that a hypervisor has its own processing needs. This can slow down applications and impact server performance.
    However, full virtualization has a notable drawback. The hypervisor itself consumes processing power, potentially leading to a phenomenon called “hypervisor overhead.” This overhead can impact the overall performance of the virtualized applications, causing them to run slower than they would on a non-virtualized system. Despite this limitation, advancements in hypervisor technology have minimized such performance impacts, making full virtualization a widely adopted approach.

  • Para-Virtualization: Unlike full virtualization, para-virtualization involves the entire network working together as a cohesive unit. Since each operating system on the virtual servers is aware of one another in para-virtualization, the hypervisor does not need to use as much processing power to manage the operating systems.
    The virtual servers in a para-virtualized environment are designed to be “para-virtualized guests,” meaning they are modified to work in conjunction with the hypervisor. This modification enables efficient sharing of resources and improved overall system performance. However, a drawback of para-virtualization is that it requires specialized guest operating systems that are aware of the virtualization environment, limiting compatibility with a broader range of operating systems.

  • OS-Level Virtualization: Unlike full and para-virtualization, OS-level visualization does not use a hypervisor. Instead, the virtualization capability, which is part of the physical server operating system, performs all the tasks of a hypervisor. However, all the virtual servers must run that same operating system in this server virtualization method.
    The primary advantage of OS-level virtualization is its lightweight nature and efficient resource utilization. Since all containers share the same operating system, there is minimal overhead, and resources are used more effectively. However, there is a caveat: all virtual servers or containers must run the same operating system as the host. This limitation might restrict the use cases for which OS-level virtualization is suitable.

Advantages of Server Virtualization: Optimizing Resource Usage and Cost Efficiency

Server virtualization has emerged as a solution of choice for organizations seeking to optimize their IT infrastructure, delivering cost-effective web hosting services while making efficient use of available resources. In the absence of server virtualization, the processing power of servers often remains vastly underutilized, resulting in a scenario where servers operate at a fraction of their potential capacity. This inefficiency leads to the paradoxical situation where numerous servers lie dormant even as workloads are confined to a limited subset of the network’s resources. This misalignment between resources and workloads contributes to overcrowded data centers and a squandering of both power and resources.

The essence of server virtualization lies in the partitioning of each physical server into multiple virtual entities, thereby enabling every virtual server to function as an independent physical unit. This transformative approach empowers each virtual server to execute its unique applications and operate its distinct operating system, mirroring the behavior of standalone physical devices. This segmentation and independence of virtual servers culminate in a remarkable improvement in resource utilization. By emulating the behavior of individual physical servers, virtual servers effectively bridge the gap between underutilized resources and burgeoning workloads, consequently amplifying the capabilities of each physical machine.


In essence, server virtualization addresses the core challenge of resource wastage by imbuing virtual servers with the attributes of their physical counterparts, thereby enabling organizations to achieve more with less. This innovative paradigm shift not only optimizes resource consumption but also engenders a cost-efficient environment, making server virtualization an indispensable strategy for modern IT infrastructures.