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Virtualization Software

Virtualization Software

Do you have a piece of software that runs only on a MAC or a Linux system, but you have a Windows system and you do not want to buy a new machine? Do you want to save on servers by running different operating systems on the same machine? Do you want to save energy cost by curtailing on your hardware? Do you see much savings if you consolidate your entire backup and recovery systems in one machine? If you answered yes to any of the above, you might want to consider virtualization software.

Virtualization Software Explained

8 results - showing 1 - 8
Details Ratings
August 05, 2011    

Boot Camp is a Virtualization Software for Mac OS X created by Publisher Apple Inc.

4.8 (1)
August 05, 2011    

VirtualBox is a Virtualization Software for Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris and created by Publisher Oracle Corporation.

0.0 (0)
March 29, 2011    

VMware Player is a Virtualization Software and Cloud Operating System for Cloud Infrastructures created by Publisher VMware, Inc.

0.0 (0)
March 29, 2011    

VMware Ace is a Virtualization Software for Host Systems under Windows and Windows Servers created by Publisher VMware, Inc.

0.0 (0)
March 27, 2011    

VMware Player is a Virtualization Software for Windows and Linux created by Publisher VMware, Inc.

0.0 (0)
March 27, 2011    

VMware Workstation is a Virtualization Software for Windows and Linux created by Publisher VMware, Inc.

0.0 (0)
March 25, 2011    

VMware Fusion is a Virtualization Software for Mac OS X created by Publisher VMware, Inc.

0.0 (0)
December 16, 2010    

Parallels Desktop for Mac is a Virtualization Software for Mac created by Parallels Holdings Ltd. Parallel Desktop for Mac invites MAC users to the windows world with a virtualization software product. Run windows operating systems and especially windows based software not supported by MAC OS - all this side by side with your MAC OS.

0.0 (0)
8 results - showing 1 - 8

Virtualization Software

Virtualization Software Resource & Information

Why Virtualization Software?

Virtualization software allows you to run differing operating systems in one computer. This is a great way to save space and energy and run differing software configurations that are OS specific. However, not all virtualization software packages are the same. Keep in mind the considerations below when shopping for the right virtualization software package.

Lowers Hardware Cost

There are many benefits to having many operating systems run from one machine. The most obvious advantage is that it allows you to save the money that you would have spent on differing servers. Having one server per operating system can cost quite a sum of money. Especially in these economically challenging times, cost saving can add up, most importantly if you run a bank of servers or running different operating systems. If you are a hosting provider, for example, and you offer Linux and Windows server capabilities, your cost can increase dramatically. Virtualization software allows you to reduce your hardware cost and still offer differing OS services to your clients.

Lowers Energy Cost

Following the hardware savings is the energy savings. Believe it or not, the biggest cost to an ongoing network operations center (NOC) is the cost of energy. While it is easy to recoup software costs and labor cost can be distributed across your clients, energy costs are not that easy to distribute. The more servers you add on, the more cost you add on. It is not cut up as easily as software and labor costs. This is the reason why energy costs cannot be distributed as easily. One way to work around this scaling issue is to use virtualization software instead of building more hardware. You are using software to save on hardware costs. Hardware accrues energy cost.

Improves Management

When you are running many different servers and each running its own OS, it can be quite a bother when you have a lot of hardware. Again the problem is one of scaling. While it is probably manageable to run a network of 30 machines, it is another matter entirely when you are running a network of 300 or 3,000 machines. Virtualization software does not necessarily make all the management headaches go away because overseeing a bank of 300 server installations is still a daunting task. However, it is more manageable when you have lessened the number of servers into virtual server blocks and then running virtualization software to manage those blocks. Instead of 300 individual boxes to keep an eye on at all times, if you break them down into 10 virtual machines each, then you will have only 30 to monitor. Depending on your labor infrastructure, virtualization software can yield a lot of management benefits by making it easier for your staff to keep an eye on your server farm.

Makes Data Recovery and Data Backup Easier

If you are running a web hosting company or you are providing remote virtual server services, you would realize quickly that data backup can be quite a headache. Whenever you are running a large multi-server system, whether it is hosting or running an application, you have to back up the data. This is a big problem if you are managing a number of servers because the data would have to be done locally – this puts a lot of pressure on your manpower resources. If you are managing differing operating systems in the same box, back up and recovery is faster. Although the files can be quite large, it is still easier to manage it from the same box than having it handled through many different machines. In the event that the hard drive fails, data recovery is handled at one time and then you can recover the differing data sets of the different operating systems from the same hard drive. Compare that to a bank of servers where hard drives fail and the failure is addressed individually, it takes more time and it costs more money to handle individual hard drive failures because the chances are higher because it is an individual OS install. Whereas when you have many different operating systems installed in the same drive, if there is hard drive failure, you just handle that in one drive.

Allows the Testing of Differing Software Configurations

If you have new software that you would like to install on a live system, you might want to try it out on a computer with differing operating systems installed. That way you can test it out on your virtual machine before you put it out on a live system. This is great for networks that have existing legacy systems or older applications. This allows you to test it locally on a virtual machine before putting it on your network. For example, if you have Linux and Windows boxes and you are providing virtual server support, you may want to run the Linux or Windows application on the relevant operating system installed in a virtual machine before installing it on the specific box. This would save a lot of time and effort later on if there was a configuration issue, there was a missing file, or any other common technical issues that arouse with software installations.

Keeps Legacy Applications Going

It is standard practice to always update the operating system to the latest version. However, there are legacy softwares that are no longer supported and run only on a specific version of an operating system. This presents quite a challenge if you update the OS and the software does not run anymore. Either you use it or your clients use it and you basically have to spend money on a new piece of software. What if it is a custom piece of software and you cannot find the developer? This could be a serious problem. Thankfully, one advantage of a virtual machine is to run older versions of the OS to run the legacy software. Keep in mind though that there is a security risk with this. If the virtual machine interacts with the internet, you might run into security threats that target older versions of your OS. You must have risk reduction strategies in place for you to enjoy the benefits of legacy software but minimize threats pose to older versions of your operating system. One good way to handle this is to just upgrade the firewall system of your OS or block the internet portion of the OS to be able to run the legacy software locally. If the legacy software retrieves files from the internet or uses a browser-type function, then you would need a custom configured security feature to maintain your system's security. The good news is legacy software has an extended life through virtualization software.

Supports a Cross Platform Office

If you have an office that has Apple Macintosh computers, Windows-based computers and Linux-based computers, managing the data flow between them could be quite a challenge. Virtualization software allows you to somewhat standardize this set up so that all your computers can read each other's files. This can be somewhat burdensome than a purely standardized operating systems set up, but it allows for easier sharing of data than otherwise.

How to Select the Right Virtualization Software for Your Own Purposes

Now that we have covered the benefits of virtualization software, we now turn to how to pick the right virtualization option for your particular situation. Keep in mind that virtualization is not for everyone. Each and every user is different. The needs of a hosting company that has 300 to 3,000 servers is very different from that of a person that just wants to run a Macintosh legacy game on his PC. Make sure that whatever software option you consider fits your particular needs. You can do this by running through the following questions and comparing the virtualization software packages accordingly.

Consideration 1. How Big Is Its Installed Base?

Virtualization software is a very specialized form of software. Its market is not as large as word processing or office software or graphic design software. It is a very specific piece of software for a specific need that a limited group of people have. Considering its rather niche orientation, it is crucial that you select software that is battle tested. Untested or custom software designed for a particular specification in a particular situation might not fit your particular needs. Do not waste your time on software that has a very small installed base. A large installed base means the software has been tested. It works well enough for it to have a lot of subscribers. It works well enough for a lot of people to implement it and use it.

Another advantage of a large installed base is that customer support and technical support issues and bugs have a higher chance of being worked out than just one of customer's software solution. Software that has an installed base usually has a large knowledge base online where people can bring their questions or have their questions answered. The larger the base, the larger the chance that whatever bug you encounter has been encountered by someone else before and there is already a fix.

Finally, a larger installed base makes the software more commercially feasible for a developer to spend on support infrastructure. It all feeds in together. A small base means there might not be enough revenues to support excellent customer support. This is compensated by charging the installed base a lot more money than a software with a huge installed base. Be very careful regarding the software title you are considering. Keep installed base foremost in mind.

Consideration 2. Differing Product Level Support

Some virtualization software packages are aimed only at one particular type of user. For example, a software title might only focus on retail users, people who want to install and run Linux programs on a Windows machine. This could be a good thing and this could cause headaches down the road. On the plus side, this type of software is focused only on a particular type of virtualization need. If your need to run differing OS falls within this particular specialization, you may be in luck assuming that it has a wide installed base and the support is there. The downside is if the specialization is just narrowly focused and it reflects in their software offering, the manufacturer might not have enough virtualization competence to handle whatever glitches, bugs and issues happen down the road. This is a very big issue because operating softwares update all the time. There might be bugs and glitches appearing with each update and how it interacts with legacy software could be quite problematic. In essence, you are looking for competence when you are considering how many differing levels of software does the virtualization software publisher offers. The more offerings it has on the market, the more you can be rest assured that this publisher is really competent in this particular type of software. For example, if the publisher has an enterprise system, has a retail version and has a midlevel version, you would know that the body of knowledge in research and development that this developer has is adequate for figuring out quality products.

While we are not saying that size is everything, scope is definitely a good criterion to consider. Research the publisher carefully. See how many virtualization titles they released and what those target markets are. One key tip is if they target the enterprise level market, you would know that they are a battle-tested publisher because the enterprise customer base is composed of tough customers. They are not to be approached lightly. An established publisher that is well respected by enterprise level customers is definitely worth your time and effort in looking into.

Does the Price Justify ROI?

Whether you are buying a house, a car, furniture or even software, everything you purchase must be subjected to a cost-benefit analysis. One good measure of cost-benefit analysis is return on investment (ROI). Simply put, if you are buying virtualization software, the benefits you get from that software must outweigh the cost.

One way software recoups its cost is the frequency of use. If the software is easy to use, you use it more often. Frequent amount of usage easily eliminates the cost over a shorter time frame than seldomly used software. For example, if you have software that you use everyday and you paid $365 for it, your return on investment is $1 a day. If you are using the software intensely, anything past 1 year is your profit and you have recouped your cost. Alternatively, if that $1 a day expenditure is bringing in income, (for example, you are using the virtualization software to run hosting or run specialized legacy application for clients and they are paying you for it) you recoup your cost faster. Regardless of how you plan to recoup your cost, you have to always keep in mind that you must justify the cost of the software.

We are not advocating that you select the cheapest software to have a shorter ROI period. No, there are neutralizing factors. Use the criteria above for neutralizing factors. Even if you buy virtualization software that is quite expensive, if you use it heavily enough and you generate income from it, that may be a better buy than software that is cheaper but you run into support problems because it has a lower installed base and it may not be exactly what you are looking for. Not all ROI revolves around money. Some ROI analysis factors in time saved. If the piece of software makes your operations smoother, faster and more efficient, you have to put a dollar figure on those benefits and then apply that to your ROI. Finally, there are non-monetary and non-time basis for ROI. The most common is peace of mind. If you have fewer problems and you are able to do other things, then that should be factored in to your ROI as well. Price is not everything, but ROI is. In everything that you do, whether it is buying software or anything else, it must be subjected to cost-benefit analysis. That is the only rational and responsible way to handle your financial resources.

The Bottom Line

There are many reasons why people would want to run differing operating systems on the same server or even at home desktop computer. Regardless of these reasons, the selection of the software must fit their particular situation closely, or else they will be losing time and money and wasting effort. Use the guide above to make sure that you ask the right questions or look for the right features so you can make an informed decision. Always subject your purchasing decision to cost-benefit analysis. Not all costs are monetary. Read this guide carefully and never lose money on software again.