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Applications of virtualization include:

Server Consolidation

Virtual machines are used to consolidate many physical servers into fewer servers, which in turn host virtual machines.

Each physical server is reflected as a virtual machine "guest" residing on a virtual machine host system. This is also known as Physical-to-Virtual or 'P2V' transformation.

Disaster Recovery

Virtual machines can be used as "hot standby" environments for physical production servers.

The advantage of this approach over tranditional l "backup-and-restore" methods is that the backup images can "boot" into live virtual machines, capable of taking over workload for a production server experiencing an outage.

Testing and Training

Hardware virtualization can give root access to a virtual machine. This can be very useful such as in kernel development and operating system courses.

Portable Applications

Certain application configuration mechanisms such as Microsoft Windows registry have caused many issues in the creation of portable applications.

For example, many applications cannot be run from a removable drive without installing them on the system's main disk drive. This is a particular issue with USB drives.

Virtualization can be used to encapsulate the application with a redirection layer that stores temporary files, Windows Registry entries, and other state information in the application's installation directory – and not within the system's permanent file system.

Portable Workspaces

Recent technologies have used virtualization to create portable workspaces on devices like iPods and USB memory sticks. These products include:

  • Application Level – Thinstal – which is a driver-less solution for running "Thinstalled" applications directly from removable storage without system changes or needing Admin rights
  • OS-level – MojoPac, Ceedo, Aargo and U3 – which allows end users to install some applications onto a storage device for use on another PC.
  • Machine-level – moka5 and LivePC – which delivers an operating system with a full software suite, including isolation and security protections.

Hardware Virtualization Technologies

  • Intel Vanderpool x86 virtualization
  • AMD Pacifica x86 virtualization
  • Sun UltraSPARC T1 hypervisor
  • IBM Advanced POWER virtualization

NEXT: Storage Virtualization

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