A previous post here on the blog discussed the important factors of AWS S3, which is quickly becoming a go-to data storage solution for businesses.
Today the focus is on virtual machines or VMs, which is another useful innovation in helping users and businesses run and manage applications.
VMs lets you run multiple virtual instances, each with its own isolated operating system and applications on one physical device. This technology allows multiple VMs to operate on the same computer, sharing its resources like processing power, memory, storage, and network connectivity.
They empower businesses to plan and use resources more effectively, improve development processes, and enhance overall scalability.
VMs are a fundamental aspect of IT infrastructure as they can be deployed as a core component for other technologies such as cloud computing and database management.
To maximize the capabilities of virtual machines, you have to remember some vital aspects of how it works. This article lists six things you should know about using VMs.
- VMs have specialized use cases
- There are various VM deployments
- VMs can connect to different network types
- VMs use drivers and integration tools
- VMs also need updates and security patches
- VMs may have licensing requirements
VMs have specialized use cases
Before deploying virtual machines, you have to first define its primary purpose with respect to your project requirements. Help Desk Geek outlined the common use cases of VMs which cover everything from application testing to educational and training purposes.
1. Multi-Platform Testing and Legacy Compatibility:
VMs let devs test software on different platforms. This is vital for applications that need to work across a diverse range of environments.
They are also used to run legacy or incompatible applications on modern hardware and operating systems. It’s a necessary step when a business needs to transition to new systems or software.
2. Service Isolation and Remote Access:
VMs may be used to isolate applications or services from one another, such as managing multiple CMS, for example.
Similarly, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) can leverage VMs to provide remote access to desktop environments. Users can operate applications from different devices, promoting flexibility and remote work.
3. Security Testing and Data Backup:
Data security experts can use VMs to establish controlled environments for testing security vulnerabilities and studying potential threats without risking the primary systems.
Backup copies of entire VMs may also be created, ensuring data recovery in case of hardware failure or other issues.
4. Multi-Server Deployment:
Organizations can use VMs to run multiple virtual servers on a single physical server. It helps optimize hardware utilization and reduces the need for physical hardware. It’s a cost-effective and simplified approach to server management.
5. Training and Educational Environments:
VMs may also be used in a classroom or workshop setting to provide hands-on experience in a controlled environment. Learners can experiment with different system configurations without affecting the actual physical systems.
There are various VM deployments
Virtualization can be achieved in a number of ways as shown in MongoDB’s guide to virtual machines. These methods are application, desktop, hardware, storage, and network.
1. Application Virtualization:
This method lets a hypervisor software create virtual instances, allocate resources, and build virtualized hardware components. University of Waterloo’s introduction to virtual machines defines a hypervisor as a ‘virtual machine manager’ and it’s classed as either a Type 1 or Type 2 hypervisor.
Type 1 or bare-metal hypervisors are installed and operated directly on the physical computer, while Type 2 or hosted hypervisors are run on a host machine with its own operating system.
2. Desktop Virtualization:
It refers to multiple virtual desktop instances running on a single physical machine. Instead of having a traditional desktop computer setup for each user, desktop virtualization centralizes the management applications and data from a data center or a server. Users can access their virtual desktops remotely, typically through web browsers or other devices.
3. Hardware Virtualization:
This pertains to pieces of physical hardware that act as separate virtual devices accessible over a network.
4. Storage Virtualization:
Refers to dividing large storage into smaller partitions that each accommodate a virtual machine.
5. Network Virtualization:
Setting up of virtual sub-networks that can direct traffic across different resources which are part of the same infrastructure.
VMs can connect to different network types
Networking settings can affect communication between VMs and their users. A VM may communicate with other machines or programs via a NAT, bridged, or host-only network. ‘NAT’ routes VM traffic through the host’s network adapter, providing internet access via the host’s IP address.
‘Bridged’ connects the VM to the external network as if it were a separate physical device. ‘Host-only’ isolates VMs from the external network, allowing communication only within the host and its VMs. It’s vital to understand these options so you can configure your VM appropriately for your use case.
VMs use drivers and integration tools
Hypervisor software providers typically have their own integration tools or drivers that enhance VM performance.
The benefits of these features include time synchronization, improved network performance, and dynamic resource allocation. Be sure to evaluate your options thoroughly to get the best fit for your needs.
VMs also need updates and security patches
Similar to actual computers, VMs should also be treated like physical machines in terms of security. Keep them updated with the latest patches.
Apply data safety practices like using strong passwords and implementing measures such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems.
If the VMs are built and run on a cloud platform, be mindful of how your data is managed and accessed.
TechMediaToday previously gave tips on cloud data security, which includes being meticulous in choosing a CSP and integrating additional cloud security solutions. Ensure safety features are deployed like data encryption and multi-factor authentication (MFA).
VMs may have licensing requirements
Licensing is another important consideration when using VMs. It usually depends on your hypervisor provider and the operating systems running within VMs. Some licenses may have limitations or costs associated with virtualization so ensure compliance to avoid issues.
Using virtual machines can greatly assist businesses and end-users in resource utilization, data management, and working with various services or web environments.
Having a solid grasp of the key concepts above will help you build, deploy, and maintain VMs to maximize their performance.