In computing, the benefits of virtualization are usually primarily cost savings. For many companies, the largest benefit of server virtualization, which allows multiple operating systems to be installed on a single server, is in reducing the amount of hardware that is required to run all the software needed by the business. Consolidating servers using a virtualization process not only provides savings in terms of how many physical machines must be bought and maintained, but also potentially reduces the amount of physical space that a company needs for its servers or data center.
Since computer virtualization allows a variety of operating systems and software configuration settings to be used on a single machine, application virtualization provides a much more flexible way for companies to run applications. Without virtualization, for example, a company might need to bear the cost of running five separate servers with different operating systems, or different configurations in order to run all of the applications needed for the operation of business. The flexibility benefits of virtualization mean that all those operating systems and applications could potentially be run on a single piece of hardware. As such, efficiently using hardware is one of the biggest benefits of virtualization.
Virtualization support can enable companies to easily and cheaply outsource all, or most, of their computing requirements. A third party provider may run systems for several different companies on a single server, while keeping the applications securely separated from each other. This has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of outsourcing a variety of computing services. Using a virtualization solution to outsource computing needs can remove the requirement for a company to have the cost of maintaining a dedicated server room.
Another area of computing that can reap large benefits from virtualization is product testing. The testing part of a computing project is often a high overhead endeavor that requires relatively expensive resources, and a lot of time. Virtualization tools allow software testers to quickly and easily set up and maintain testing environments, and to rapidly restore testing environments to their original state when required.
Ease of application deployment is another of the benefits of virtualization. Computing projects are often resource intensive in terms of deployment. Virtualization allows for the easy creation of base computing environments, and largely removes issues of hardware compatibility. This can save costs and time in rolling out new or changed computing systems and applications.