With the evolution of technology, the lives of people became more convenient and faster. Business owners have made use of computers and the World Wide Web to operate virtually, thus making it a crucial element in thriving in the industry.
In technology, virtualization is the use of virtual or unreal version of resources such as devices or computer platforms which can be used in different applications. It can be a storage device, a network or an operating system. Partitioning a hard drive into several partitions can be considered virtualization as well as having a host computer to run several guest computers. It can be likened to the brain and the mind, wherein the former is the physical device while the latter is a virtual brain. In recent years, the term visualization has broadened and can now be classified into the following:
Hardware Virtualization – also referred to as platform virtualization, this entails creating a virtual machine that work similarly as a real computer.
Desktop Virtualization – is a more advanced form of hardware virtualization wherein connection can be to the host server without the use of a keyboard, monitor and a moue but instead through remote access via local access networking (LAN), the internet or Wireless LAN.
With this advance in technology, people can now enhance their computer experience by centralizing their activities with the use of different devices and computer platforms. Indeed, there are numerous benefits virtualization offers but there are also opposing views about its effects.
Here is an analysis of the positive and negative effects of this innovation in technology:
List of the Advantages of Virtualization
1. It reduces IT costs and business expenditure.
With the advent of virtual computing, business can take advantage of lessening their expenses in these three areas:
Capital Expenditure – With virtualization, a business owner need not have to invest in several units of computer hardware to run the business. By investing in a host server, different transactions can be made using virtual machines.
Energy Expenditure – With less investment in hardware, there will be a reduction in the consumption of energy which can impact the cost of utility bills in the business.
Operational Expenses – With the use of virtual machines, more work can be accomplished in a short period of time and faster. This way, employees get their tasks done within the shift and there is no need to go overtime which can be an added expense to overhead costs.
2. It allows businesses to consolidate their resources, thus reducing costs.
A great thing about virtualization is it capability to allow businesses to use several applications in a server instead of several servers. Unlike older computer networking infrastructure types which do not typically permit this set-up, virtual computing can run multiple servers in a single host.
3. It prevents unnecessary downtime since it makes it possible for business owners to make the most of its resources.
With virtualization, computer environments can be maximized, allowing for the unused servers to be used since workload can be spread. In situations where new servers are needed, it can be done with just a simple click and no need to spend for new hardware so long as there are adequate resources. This is great for small business and for start-ups which utilize data for testing and tests.
4. Data recovery is faster and cost-efficient.
Overtime, files can be corrupted. In the virtual platform, recovering data is faster and a breeze. With the use of a virtual backup, corrupted systems and files can be deleted and restored using the backup.
5. It can be used by health care personnel to render services to patients.
Another application of virtualization that has also been discussed in health care is the use of virtual computing for the use of medical and administrative staff online to access medical records and orders by doctors. This also reduced the cost of hospitals when it comes to maintenance and help desk calls.
List of Disadvantages of Virtualization
1. It can be expensive.
One of the setbacks of virtualization is the cost. According to the CEO of an IT consulting firm, this can be quite a pricey investment upfront. A virtual server needs a one-time investment that is more than the cost of a conventional server. An entrepreneur who wants faster performance of tasks using technology might consider having to pay a little more to create virtual servers than upgrading new software and servers.
2. Virtualization might not be compatible with other servers and applications.
Another drawback is the possibility that not all servers and applications are virtualization friendly. This can be a problem when an investment has already been made on several servers or if the applications used to run your business do not have an upgraded version that allows for virtualization.
3. It needs training to network administrators and in the case of hospitals, additional trainings for personnel.
Another downside of virtualization is the need to spend for training for the network administrator which is an added expense. In the case of hospital personnel, the management will have to shoulder the expenses for training doctors, nurses and administrative staff. Moreover, not all personnel are ready to learn new computer skills especially those who are not technically savvy. This can pose as a challenge.
4. Added expense from easy server installation.
Another problem seen by opponents of virtualization is the impending concern that since adding new servers can be done faster and a time might come when there are more servers than network administrators available to monitor them. This means impractical expenditure and waste of time.
Virtualization has indeed come of age and will still be popular in the coming years. This technical platform has already showed its effectiveness and benefit especially in businesses. And though there are also downsides to utilizing this system, the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. It is up to private individuals and the business owners to decide on up to what extent is virtualization allowed to run people’s lives and businesses.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.