Data virtualization is the process of offering data consumers a data access interface that hides the technical aspects of stored data, such as location, storage structure, API, access language, and storage technology. Consuming applications may include: business intelligence, analytics, CRM, enterprise resource planning, and more across both cloud computing platforms and on-premises.
Data Virtualization Benefits:
Data virtualization is based on the premise of the abstraction of data contained within a variety of data sources (databases, applications, file repositories, websites, data services vendors, etc.) for the purpose of providing a single-point access to the data and its architecture is based on a shared semantic abstraction layer as opposed to limited visibility semantic metadata confined to a single data source.
Data virtualization is an enabling technology which provides the following capabilities:
• Abstraction – Abstract data the technical aspects of stored data, such as location, storage structure, API, access language, and storage technology.
• Virtualized Data Access – Connect to different data sources and make them accessible from one logical place
• Transformation / Integration – Transform, improve quality, and integrate data based on need across multiple sources
• Data Federation – Combine results sets from across multiple source systems.
• Flexible Data Delivery – Publish result sets as views and/or data services executed by consuming application or users when requested
In delivering these capabilities, data virtualization also addresses requirements for data security, data quality, data governance, query optimization, caching, etc. Data virtualization includes functions for development, operation and management.
Network virtualization provides a powerful way to run multiple networks, each customized to a specific purpose, at the same time over a shared substrate. Benefits include:
Network management can be a tedious and time-consuming business for a human administrator. Network virtualization improves productivity, efficiency, and job satisfaction of the administrator by performing many of these tasks automatically, thereby disguising the true complexity of the network. Files, images, programs, and folders can be centrally managed from a single physical site. Storage media such as hard drives and tape drives can be easily added or reassigned. Storage space can be shared or reallocated among the servers.
Network virtualization is especially effective in networks that experience sudden, large, and unforeseen surges in usage.
Storage virtualization, or storage networking virtualization, can improve the ability to move data into and out of storage resources to meet the demands of virtualized server and desktop infrastructures. Benefits include:
Virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple network storage devices into what appears to be a single storage device that is managed from a central console. Storage virtualization is commonly used in a storage area network (SAN). The management of storage devices can be tedious and time-consuming. Storage virtualization helps the storage administrator perform the tasks of backup, archiving, and recovery more easily, and in less time, by disguising the actual complexity of the SAN.
Users can implement virtualization with software applications or by using hardware and software hybrid appliances. The technology can be placed on different levels of a storage area network.
Server virtualization is part of an overall virtualization trend that includes storage virtualization, network virtualization, and workload management. This trend is one component in the development of autonomic computing, in which the server environment will be able to manage itself based on perceived activity. Server virtualization can be used to eliminate server sprawl, to make more efficient use of server resources, to improve server availability, to assist in disaster recovery, testing and development, and to centralize server administration.
Benefits of Server Virtualization
Reduce total cost of ownership of IT assets: Both capital expenses (cost of buying new servers or installing a new server farm) and operating expenses (lower monthly energy bills for powering/cooling a data center, lower labor costs for the IT department).
Improve security and reduce risk of crashes: More secure servers, less downtime and better disaster recovery / business continuity.
Reduce staff time devoted to server management: Transform IT department from a “maintenance" team performing routine tasks to a “strategic” team that can focus on higher level goals and innovation.
Additional flexibility and agility in IT asset allocation: New ways to use servers and innovative deployment of technology specialists.
What is Server Virtualization?
Server virtualization is the masking of server resources, including the number and identity of individual physical servers, processors, and operating systems, from server users. The server administrator uses a software application to divide one physical server into multiple isolated virtual environments. The virtual environments are sometimes called virtual private servers, but they are also known as guests, instances, containers or emulations.
There are three popular approaches to server virtualization: the virtual machine model, the paravirtual machine model, and virtualization at the operating system (OS) layer.
Virtual machines are based on the host/guest paradigm. Each guest runs on a virtual imitation of the hardware layer. This approach allows the guest operating system to run without modifications. It also allows the administrator to create guests that use different operating systems. The guest has no knowledge of the host's operating system because it is not aware that it's not running on real hardware. It does, however, require real computing resources from the host -- so it uses a hypervisor to coordinate instructions to the CPU.
The hypervisor is called a virtual machine monitor (VMM). It validates all the guest-issued CPU instructions and manages any executed code that requires addition privileges. VMware and Microsoft Virtual Server both use the virtual machine model.
The paravirtual machine (PVM) model is also based on the host/guest paradigm -- and it uses a virtual machine monitor too. In the paravirtual machine model, however, The VMM actually modifies the guest operating system's code. This modification is called porting. Porting supports the VMM so it can utilize privileged systems calls sparingly. Like virtual machines, paravirtual machines are capable of running multiple operating systems. Xen and UML both use the paravirtual machine model.
Virtualization at the OS level works a little differently. It isn't based on the host/guest paradigm. In the OS level model, the host runs a single OS kernel as its core and exports operating system functionality to each of the guests. Guests must use the same operating system as the host, although different distributions of the same system are allowed. This distributed architecture eliminates system calls between layers, which reduces CPU usage overhead. It also requires that each partition remain strictly isolated from its neighbors so that a failure or security breach in one partition isn't able to affect any of the other partitions. In this model, common binaries and libraries on the same physical machine can be shared, allowing an OS level virtual server to host thousands of guests at the same time. Virtuozzo and Solaris Zones both use OS-level virtualization.
The provisioning of PCs is much simpler in a virtualized environment. With traditional desktops, administrators must test applications against multiple desktop configurations. With virtual desktops, IT can test applications against only one environment prior to deployment and still eliminate most follow-up support issues.
There are high cost and resource demands that come with managing a wide variety of client form factors, multiple generations of operating systems and hundreds of applications. Some well-managed PC environments require constant maintenance and support to repair problems and retain compliance with corporate policy. Desktop virtualization allows for large, global companies with thousands of PCs to better manage their clients because of the reduced dependence on specific hardware and operating system configurations.
Application and data security improvements
The traditional PC environment must be patched and updated consistently. There is a need to mitigate viruses and worms and cut the exposure of critical data and applications to malicious behavior from internal and external sources. Security risks increase as more mobile devices enter the workforce. End-users reach the internet through public and unsecured home Wi-Fi networks. Thousands of laptops are stolen every year, which put confidential corporate data at risk.
Because virtualized environments give IT greater control over system and application provisioning and access, it is easier to secure access rights, and in many cases, data. Desktop virtualization helps by making it easier to decouple applications from data, which also makes it easier to de-provision access to applications.
Software licensing management
How many applications in the enterprise do you run today that you have no way of tracking? If you deliver all corporate applications through a virtualized environment, it is easier to track software usage and licenses.
System stability and reliability
Virtual environments can help prevent application conflicts and are easier to repair when issues arise. There are ways to sandbox applications and prevent these conflicts. Plus, you can quickly and easily restore a PC to a working state with a simple reboot, thereby reducing the costs associated with reimaging and redeploying that hardware asset.