Currently, there are three main styles of server virtualization, and each has its benefits and drawbacks, according to open source consultant and author Bernard Golden, a presenter at the Red Hat Summit, happening right now in San Diego.
His lowdown on the three ways to virtualize provides a handy guide to the options today. Following his list, I offer some links to definitions, how-tos, tips and news about each method.
By the way, besides being a resident expert on SearchServerVirtualization.com and SearchEnterpriseLinux.com Golden is president of Navica Inc., an open source consulting firm, and author of the new book, “Virtualization for Dummies”. Check out his views on server hardware for virtualization in this post.
Here are the top three ways to virtualize:
Virtualization style: Operating system (OS) “container” emulation
Examples: Solaris Containers; SWsoft
Pros: Efficient; does not require additional software
Cons: Isolation; dependent upon OS; limits version choice within guest OS types
Virtualization style: Hardware emulation
Examples: VMware Server; Microsoft Virtual Server
Pros: Relatively easy to install and use; true isolation of OS instances
Cons: Less efficient than paravirtualization
Virtualization style: Paravirtualization
Examples: Xen, VMware ESX, Microsoft Longhorn virtualization
Pros: High herformance; true Isolation of OS instances
Cons: Extra software layer; complex to install and administer
Don’t expect these ways and means to remain fixed in time. In five years, all operating systems will be virtualized, simplifying every aspect of server virtualization from planning to upgrades, Golden predicts. Even better, built-in operating system virtualization will make it very difficult for application software vendors to respond to every helpdesk call by blaming the VM.
For more information on the three top ways deploy server virtualization, check out these resources:
For an overview, read Alessandro Perilli’s analysis of virtualization vendor strategies.
Get the scoop on hardware emulation: VMware Server on Linux: Installation through management; Optimizing Microsoft Virtual Server 2005; and emulation defined.
For more on paravirtualization, go to: Paravirtualization with Xen; Xen defined; How-to: VMware ESX, Linux virtual machines and read-only file systems; and Virtualization in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.
Which style of virtualization do you use? What questions would you like to ask our resident expert, Bernard Golden, about server virtualization strategies? Tell all by commenting on this post or writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.