Virtualization is the creation of a virtual, rather than physical, version of a server, storage device, operating system, or network resource. It improves scalability, operational efficiency, and security, making it vital to system design. With virtualization, you can run multiple applications and operating systems independently on a single physical server, maximizing resources and reducing costs.

Companies first introduced virtualization in the 1960s to maximize their use of large, costly mainframe hardware. Dividing these mainframes into virtual machines allowed each user to have a separate environment, making the expensive mainframes more efficient. 

As technology progressed and became more affordable, the concept became integrated into server infrastructure, network infrastructure, and even storage solutions.

Key virtualization concepts

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Dynamic allocation

Assigning specific computing tasks can underuse or overload physical servers in a non-virtualized system. But thanks to virtualization, you can dynamically allocate resources based on demand, helping to balance your hardware load.

Red Hat OpenShift Virtualization helps dynamically allocate your virtualized resources, while Red Hat OpenShift helps manage and orchestrate them in a hybrid environment.

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Rapid provisioning

Virtualization lets you rapidly provision and deprovision resources. After a virtual machine performs its required function, you can suspend or delete it, freeing resources for upcoming tasks in the queue. This flexibility makes managing your IT infrastructure straightforward.

Red Hat OpenShift Virtualization helps manage your virtualized resources, while Red Hat OpenShift helps provision them in a hybrid environment.

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Containers package an application and environment — code, runtime, libraries, and dependencies — in a lightweight form. The application works consistently regardless of the system or computer. Containers share the host system’s OS kernel, making them much more efficient and faster to start than traditional virtual machines.

Red Hat OpenShift Virtualization focuses on virtualizing resources, while Red Hat OpenShift specializes in orchestrating and managing containerized applications within hybrid environments.

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Microservices are a popular architectural style, fragmenting a complex application into small, loosely connected services. You can run each microservice in a container’s isolated and controlled environment. Each microservice has its own resource limits, security configurations, and dependencies, ensuring they don’t interfere with each other.

Red Hat OpenShift Virtualization helps in resource virtualization and management, while Red Hat OpenShift specializes in orchestrating and managing containerized microservices within hybrid environments.

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Modernizing with virtualization

One key way organizations virtualize to modernize their systems is by moving to a hybrid cloud application platform, such as Red Hat OpenShift. Imagine you’re running an application on a legacy system, and you want to rewrite the application to take advantage of modern, cloud-native technologies and practices.

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Virtualization approach

  • Break the monolithic application into multiple microservices

  • Refactor the application to fit into a cloud-native environment
  • Update deadlines for stakeholders as the project continues
  • Timescale: Months or years


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Conventional approach

  • Rehost the application as-is in virtual machines on Red Hat OpenShift’s containerized platform

  • Replatform the application in a container
  • Refactor and modernize incrementally without disrupting services
  • Timescale: Almost instant

Embracing open source virtualization

Virtualization’s close ties with open source software also help push modernization forward.

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Promoting transparency

You can see the open source code, modify it, and even improve it. This openness prevents vendor lock-in, giving you greater flexibility and control over your systems.


Building together

Open source communities backing Red Hat OpenShift Virtualization and Red Hat OpenStack Platform include thousands of developers worldwide, all helping build and enhance the software. This vast pool of collective intelligence ensures continual innovation, security, and software improvements.


Saving money

Adopting open source virtualization solutions leads to significant savings because they don’t require costly licensing fees.

Implementing virtualization

Red Hat offers a robust set of products to make your virtualization journey smooth and successful.

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Red Hat OpenShift

Red Hat OpenShift is a powerful platform that builds upon Kubernetes — a system for automating deployment, scaling, and managing containerized applications — by enhancing it with additional features and capabilities.

OpenShift enables you to operate and oversee containers and virtual machines within a unified platform. This ability bridges the gap between traditional and modern applications, making it easier to manage mixed workloads. By consolidating these workloads onto a single, integrated platform, your organization can become more flexible and efficient.

Moreover, OpenShift’s integration with Kubernetes ensures that you have a robust container orchestration system with open source solutions. This winning combination gives you access to the extensive innovation and improvements driven by the global Kubernetes community.


Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux offers a high-performing, secure, and stable operating system that can run your virtual environments easily. Its reliability makes it a great choice if you’re looking to implement virtualization.

RHEL supports both host-based and guest-based virtualization, so you can run RHEL as a host that supports virtual machines or as a guest operating system inside a virtual machine. Either way, you get a scalable, flexible solution to meet your requirements.

Beyond its basic capabilities, RHEL provides tools specifically designed for virtualization management, such as the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor and the libvirt library. These tools simplify the creation, migration, and management of virtual machines, offering you a comprehensive and efficient virtualization solution.

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