This article is an excerpt from the July/August 2011 InTech magazine article, “Virtualization 101: Understanding how to do more with less” by Paul Hodge, Honeywell HPS product manager.

The process of virtualization works by inserting a thin layer of software called the hypervisor directly into the computer hardware. The hypervisor layer presents multiple sets of “virtual hardware,” which contain the same components as a regular machine (e.g., motherboard, chipset, etc.). To an operating system, virtual hardware is indistinguishable from a regular machine. …

Virtualization allows one computer to take the place of multiple computers, resulting in greater efficiency.

By utilizing virtualization, multiple virtual machines can be operated at the same time on a single physical machine with their own dedicated OS and application environments. This is achieved while guaranteeing each virtual machine receives adequate resources to perform its given tasks and ensures the virtual machines remain isolated from one another. Through this consolidation, hardware resources are maximized, and the need for multiple physical machines is mitigated. Furthermore, with reductions in servers, there is a corresponding reduction in space, power, cooling, and maintenance, reducing plant running costs.

Virtualization also allows plants to undertake expansions without adding new hardware. Virtual machines can continue to be added to physical servers as long as there are sufficient resources available to meet their operational needs.

Since multiple applications run in the same computer hardware, they can communicate with each other within the machine, increasing performance. This also eliminates networking hardware, including switches and routers.

Read the full article at InTech magazine.

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