In business, IT virtualisation refers to the process of creating a virtual replica of a system, such as virtual computer hardware systems, file systems, network resources and virtualised software applications. It is a critical component of software-defined infrastructure (SDI) and managed services environments (MSE), which aim to provide complete solutions to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in an affordable, reliable and scalable manner. It can be defined as the management of a virtual server on the infrastructure of a physical server or virtualised computer system.
In the past, virtualisation was used only in software-defined infrastructure (SDI), which is an alternative to traditional managed services. The concept was also applied to applications in massive enterprise computing. However, as cloud computing and service-oriented architecture (SOA) emerged, it gained further popularity, particularly in the cloud computing world. Today, it has become a part of IT infrastructure planning for SaaS, PaaS, and cloud computing.
There are many benefits to IT virtualisation. IT virtualisation reduces cost by removing hardware-based constraints from the virtual servers and reducing operating costs. As the virtual infrastructure is based on the same physical hardware, no change to physical configurations is needed, therefore increasing IT cost-effectiveness. It also enables businesses to create more unique applications because the application server remains unchanged. At the same time, its physical hardware can be reconfigured, as required, to provide tailored solutions to different customer requirements.
IT virtualisation also allows businesses to gain security by securing the physical infrastructure against external threats. Many security policies can be created on the foundation using existing tools, and companies can also make use of visualisation tools to automate security updates, manage security certificates, and automate policy enforcement.
In some cases, IT virtualisation provides a better and more flexible environment for development, as virtual machines can be easily partitioned to suit various usage requirements, allowing development teams to create different virtual machines for each stage of development, which can then be used for testing and production workloads.
Virtual machines can be used to host both on-premise and off-site databases, enabling fast and secure migration between onsite and off-site data storage solutions. Virtual machines allow for easy deployment to multiple development environments and allow easy deployment management. They also have the advantage of being easy to use and cost-effective, since there is no need to install, configure, or manage them, and IT administrators can also avoid the risk of having to do so.
However, not every company can benefit from IT virtualisation. If the use of virtualisation for an organisation is not required, it can sometimes detract from its IT budget and operational efficiency, as well as impacting its ability to provide a competitive edge in the marketplace.