In computing, virtualization refers to the act of creating a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, including virtual computer hardware platforms, storage devices, and computer network resources.
It is a technology that lets you create useful IT services using resources that are traditionally bound to hardware. It allows you to use a physical machine’s full capacity by distributing its capabilities among many users or environments.
How it works-a simple example.
In more practical terms, imagine you have 3 physical servers with individual dedicated purposes. One is a mail server, another is a web server, and the last one runs internal legacy applications. Each server is being used at about 30% capacity—just a fraction of their running potential. But since the legacy apps remain important to your internal operations, you have to keep them and the third server that hosts them, right?
Traditionally, yes. It was often easier and more reliable to run individual tasks on individual servers: 1 server, 1 operating system, 1 task. It wasn’t easy to give 1 server multiple brains. But with virtualization, you can split the mail server into 2 unique ones that can handle independent tasks so the legacy apps can be migrated. It’s the same hardware, you’re just using more of it more efficiently.
Keeping security in mind, you could split the first server again so it could handle another task—increasing its use from 30%, to 60%, to 90%. Once you do that, the now empty servers could be reused for other tasks or retired altogether to reduce cooling and maintenance costs.