For years, whenever companies deployed a new application for their employees and customers, the application would run on its own computer server. Increasingly, companies are running many applications simultaneously on a single server using virtualization technology. This has created the need for a new type of management called virtualization management. Virtualization management helps companies deploy, update, monitor, and maintain virtualized applications. Using virtualization management software, IT managers can control their virtualized computing environment.
The need for virtualization management has arisen due to the near universal adoption of server and application virtualization. Companies realized the traditional approach of one application per server was an inefficient use of computing resources. Quite often, many servers ran at a fraction of their rated performance. This proved to be very costly since each under-used server still needed an operating system, electricity, and had to be managed. Virtualization allows multiple applications to share a single server without conflicts. This lets companies consolidate the number of servers they must own, greatly reducing costs.
For virtualization to work, an application must be paired with an operating system in a software element called a virtual machine. Virtualization management software is often used to create these virtual machines. Next, the virtual machine must be placed on a server in order to run. Virtualization management software is used to install and test the individual virtual machines on a server.
Virtualized applications, like traditional applications running on a server, must be updated and checked over time. To that end, virtualization management software is used to monitor the performance of a virtual machine. If performance is below par, an administrator might use the management software to allocate more memory or processing power. This would help the virtual instance of the application run faster. Similarly, if a problem occurs with an application, virtualization management software is used to troubleshoot and correct the situation. Additionally, the software is used whenever an application needs to have a new patch installed or an update must be applied.
When server and application virtualization first became popular, virtualization management tools were fairly rudimentary and offered only limited functionality. As virtualization has been become a core part of most IT infrastructures, management tools have added many features. For example, many virtualization tools now let IT administrators manage both their virtual and physical networks at the same time.
Additionally, virtualization management tools are now taking on more strategic functions. At first, the management system was used to keep applications running smoothly. Now, the management tools are increasingly used to identify usage patterns and aid in planning to meet new demands.