Virtualization has different meanings and applications in terms
of its domain depending upon whether it is refered to in computing
terms or non-computing environments. In both environments, virtualization
opposes transparency, in that something is virtual when it is visible,
perceivable, but does not physically exist in the form perceived.
Conversely, something is transparent when it exists in the real
world, but is not visible in use.
In computing terms, virtualization refers to a technique for hiding
the physical characteristics of computing resources from the way
in which other systems, applications, or end users interact with
This enables making a single physical resource [ server, operating
system, application, or storage device) appear to function as multiple
Alternatively, it can include making multiple physical resources
[ storage devices or servers] appear as a single logical resource.
In terms of different asepcts of computing, virtualization has
a broad legacy of application, ranging from entire computer systems
to individual capabilities or components.
Throughout these different applications, a common element of all
virtualization technologies is the hiding of technical detail, through
Virtualization creates an external interface that hides an underlying
implementation, for example:
- By multiplexing access
- By combining resources at different physical locations
- By simplifying a control system.
Recent development of new virtualization platforms and technologies
has refocused attention on this concept.
In domains abstraction and object orientation, virtualization is
used in many different contexts. These can be broadly grouped into
In non-computer context, many control systems implement a virtualized
interface to a complex device.
To grasp the different elements of virutality, it is important
to understand the distinction of virtualization in these two domains.
NEXT: Use of Virtualization
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