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Top 8 Server Virtualization Software Tools

VMware vSphereKVMProxmox VEHyper-VOracle VM VirtualBoxOracle VMCitrix HypervisorIBM PowerVM
  1. leader badge
    This solution's most valuable feature is its High Availability.VMware vSphere has very good applications and services.
  2. leader badge
    KVM is stable.Very cost-effective.
  3. Find out what your peers are saying about VMware, KVM, Proxmox and others in Server Virtualization Software. Updated: October 2021.
    542,721 professionals have used our research since 2012.
  4. leader badge
    The solution is extremely scalable.It is easy to deploy.
  5. The performance is very good.The initial setup is simple. There's not much to do. We input one command or just one or two clicks on the UI. Initial setup in the Windows environment for any software is not that difficult.
  6. Oracle VM VirtualBox is easy to use.Technical support is good.
  7. The cloning is a great feature and live migration is very easy.It's quite stable.
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  9. Citrix Hypervisor integrates easily and I can manage the infrastructure better. If I need to take a machine down to expand the hard drive, I do not have to physically be here. I do not need to order new equipment or new hard drives. I can shut it down, increase the drive space and bring it back up.
  10. The most valuable features in this solution are you do not get degradation in the performance like you could get in other solutions. There is a physical adapter that is better than a virtual one and you can assign adapters to a VM.

Why is server virtualization important?

There are many reasons why server virtualization is important. Some organizations are investing in it for practical needs, while others are using it for its financial benefits or to address common technical concerns.

  • Server virtualization is an effective way to utilize existing resources in your organization’s IT infrastructure, as well as a cost-efficient method of providing web hosting services. When servers are sitting idle, they only use a small part of their powerful processing power because workloads are distributed to only a single part of the network’s server, causing resources and power to be wasted. Server virtualization enables each server to act as its own physical server, increasing the utilization of resources for each individual machine.
  • Server virtualization is also important for companies that host thousands of servers but need more physical space. Network administrators can consolidate several machines into one that can run multiple virtual environments.
  • Eventually, server hardware will become obsolete. If your company is using legacy systems, this can lead to hardware failures and cause business interruptions. With server virtualization, administrators can create a virtual version of the hardware, using modern servers.
  • Another reason server virtualization is important is because of migration. If your organization has the right hardware and software, it is possible to move virtual servers easily from one physical machine to another in a network, even if both machines have processors that are different.

What are the different types of server virtualization?

There are three types of server virtualization, each one using a different approach to allocate resources from a physical server to a virtual one.

  1. Full virtualization: Full virtualization uses a hypervisor, a software that abstracts applications and operating systems from hardware. By monitoring the physical server’s resources, it can keep each virtual server independent of and unaware of other virtual servers.
  2. Paravirtualization: In contrast to full virtualization, paravirtualization requires an entire network to work together and to manage the operating system. The hypervisor does not use as much processing power.
  3. OS-level virtualization: While full and para virtualizations use a hypervisor, operating system-level virtualization does not. For OS-level, the virtualization performs the same tasks as a hypervisor and is part of the operating system that belongs to the physical server.

What is server virtualization software?

Server virtualization software is a software whose architecture is designed to support more than one server operating system to act as a guest on a physical server host. The software becomes a virtual machine when the software is abstracted away from its physical machine and in this way the server technically believes it is running exclusively on the memory resources. Server virtualization software allows for a more efficient use of IT resources.

What are the different components of server virtualization?

  • Host machine: This is the physical server hardware where virtualization takes place.
  • Virtual machines (VMs): Also referred to as guest machines, VMs have assets that are abstracted from a server environment.
  • Hypervisor: A hypervisor is a type of software that acts as an emulator and creates and runs virtual machines.
  • Hypercalls: Messages that are sent between operating systems and para-virtualized hypervisors in order to share resources by using an API are referred to as hypercalls.
  • Containers: Often deployed inside of hypervisors, containers are unique user environments that are created within virtualized operating systems.

Server Virtualization Benefits

Server virtualization provides many advantages. Below are a few of the many benefits it provides:

  • Decreased hardware costs: Hardware can be very expensive, especially if you have numerous physical servers all using the same network to handle workloads. Not only that, but money is wasted on hardware resources, maintenance, power, cooling, and other things. Virtualization makes it possible to reduce the amount of servers you need in order to conduct business efficiently.
  • Fast and easy deployment: For several reasons, installing a physical server is a time-consuming, arduous, and pricey process. With server virtualization, you have the capability to clone a virtual machine all in a matter of minutes, and without the expensive cost.
  • Save space: Dependent on the capacity of your data center, there are only so many physical servers you will have the space for. With virtual machines, this issue is eliminated because they only take up virtual space even though they still require a physical server.
  • Energy cost reductions: Another major benefit of server virtualization is that you save on energy costs because not as many physical servers are needed and thus you do not need to spend more on cooling services to prevent them from overheating.
  • Improved disaster recovery: Beyond server virtualization being extremely convenient, it provides a simplified disaster recovery where data backup and creating a replication of the virtual server can be done quickly.
  • Increased efficiency: Because server virtualization requires fewer servers in your data center, IT staff will be able to be more agile, and consequently more efficient. With a reduced number of servers to manage and maintain, IT teams can spend more time focusing on other work priorities
  • Elimination of server sprawl: Physical servers create issues with server sprawl. Server virtualization eliminates server sprawl because it creates multiple virtual servers within a single server. This way, admins do not have to over-allocate resources like they had to before virtualization existed.

Server Virtualization Software Features

Below is a list of server virtualization software common features:

  • Hypervisor (type 1 or 2)
  • Remote management of physical locations
  • Workload rebalancing, server health monitoring, performance, and resolution of bottlenecks
  • Ability to run numerous virtual machines while using different operating systems on the same server
  • Automated VM (virtual machine) provisioning
  • Options for performance logs and auditable activity tracking
  • Secure infrastructure and apps that include guest operating system lockdown
  • Antivirus and anti-malware hypervisor-level security
  • The choice to migrate live virtual machines between hosts (during scheduled maintenance)
  • Backup or patch virtual machines without having to interrupt service
  • Ability to control and optimize your virtual machine environment centrally

Users Weigh In

Given the importance of virtualization to infrastructure strategy, current product offerings for server virtualization tend to be feature rich and highly sophisticated.

When evaluating server virtualization solutions, IT Central Station member comments reflect the depth of functionality and nuances of products on the market today. Preferences go well beyond basics like wanting a virtualization package to be flexible and easy to install and configure.

Enterprises are now essentially running their entire infrastructures on top of server virtualization software. As a result, users look for capabilities like automatic mirroring/backup using snapshots on the runtime as a way to minimize the number of fail-recovery procedures and downtime. IT Central Station members pay attention to how well a server virtualization solution can handle multiple physical machines, maintaining relative processing demand to get to optimal usage of each physical machine. The goal is to minimize overload at peak times.

Infrastructure managers emphasize host clustering support. For instance, will a server virtualization software package support at least 8 nodes and 90 VMs? They pay attention to replication and disaster recovery as well as live migration in a VM/concurrent based migration without VM downtime. Users seem to want a granular administration model. Stability is prized.

Portability and usability also drive selection of virtualization managers. With admins on call anywhere, some users want the software to run on a laptop without using up much battery power. The quality of the web client also matters in this context.

Server Virtualization Refresher Tips for CIOs and IT Decision-makers

CIOs and IT decision-makers need savvy IT infrastructure planning to be cost-effective and satisfy increasing expectations for end-user experience. Guess what—or who doesn’t know this—you betta get yer Server Virtualization on!

Go ahead, scratch your head. The legacy infrastructure dear to many IT folks has become more expensive than a properly managed set of virtualized platforms—as predicted by most IT enterprise analysts—and now sitting even stronger in the forefront of large and mid-sized enterprises as the way to go.

What are you waiting for? [We know you’re not waiting]

Here’s a five-point run down that we liked from the IT Solutions Blog at ConRes.

Five Refresher Tips for Server Virtualization

  1. How will your software be licensed in a virtual environment? When you virtualize your systems, will you need new software licenses? The answer will vary by software. Find out in advance where you’ll need new licenses.
  2. What is the best virtualization platform for your business? Each business has different requirements. And with the amount of virtualization options on the market, the choices can be dizzying. Work with a trusted IT advisor to determine the most cost-effective virtualization platform that will get the job done.
  3. Does your virtualization plan mitigate failure risk? Virtualization should reduce system risks. But a poorly implemented virtualization plan can do just the opposite. Server virtualization means that one physical machine can act as multiple virtual servers. But what happens when that single machine goes down?The critical point is often the host server. Contingency plans need to be in place should the host server fail, and the virtualized platform should be designed so that all your critical elements aren’t on the same host server. In short, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  4. Are you overloading your host servers? Each host server can only realistically accommodate a certain number of guest machines. While that number used to extend to 20 to 50 or even 100 virtual machines on a host, software and applications have become larger and more complex. Now, industry experts say that 15 virtual servers per host is the likely maximum number, with most enterprises achieving a 6:1 ratio for data applications such as CRM, ERP, databases and e-mail. It’s important to be realistic about host server capacity so you don’t overwhelm your systems.
  5. Which servers and applications can be virtualized? Not every server or application can or should be virtualized. For example, servers that require special hardware or run resource-intensive applications aren’t good candidates for virtualization. And some common applications just won’t run in a virtual environment. With a little forethought, you can figure out which applications and servers can work in a virtual environment. Good candidates for virtualization? Older servers (to avoid upgrade costs or increases in maintenance costs), multiprocessor servers dedicated to single-processor applications (enabling you to optimize resources), and infrequently used severs (so you can consolidate resources).

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Find out what your peers are saying about VMware, KVM, Proxmox and others in Server Virtualization Software. Updated: October 2021.
542,721 professionals have used our research since 2012.