Term Paper: Hypervisors Analysis of Virtualization

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Hypervisors

Analysis of Virtualization Hypervisors

Enterprises are seeking to gain greater control over their information technologies (IT) costs and long-term risks, often alleviating how dependent many of them have become with hardware-based systems and platforms. Coupled with the need for getting greater operational efficiency from their existing enterprise system investments and time-to-market advantages of cloud computing, virtualization continues to experience significant market growth. Estimates by research and advisory firm Gartner state that virtualization adoption driven by cost reduction, greater consolidation of IT infrastructure, and the speed and cost of advantages of cloud computing are catalysts making virtualization software sales grow at 35% a year through 2017 (Zhang, Chen, 2013).

The cost and time-to-market benefits of virtualization are accentuated by how quickly the applications and software platforms used for managing virtualization instances continue to adopt greater usability and ease of use improvements as vendors compete increasingly on the user experience dimension (Hwang, Zeng, Wu, Wood, 2013). Because of these benefits, virtualization is now a core component of many of the strategic IT planning programs of every company who is a member of the Fortune 500 and is rapidly becoming an essential strategy for keeping IT investments aligned with business strategies. Virtualization is now one of the primary catalysts CIOs rely on to also assist in transitioning their careers away from being purely risk-based managers to being strategic contributors to their growth of their companies.

The intent of this analysis of virtualization is to examine the role of hypervisors in enterprise computing, specifically focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of using hypervisors for managing large-scale IT infrastructure. The Microsoft Hyper-V, VMWare ESXi and Hitachi Virtage are also compared and contrasted in this analysis, in addition to an analysis of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for hypervisor-based strategies in the enterprise. The most critical component to any hypervisor implementation and use is increasing their adoption and mastery by system administrators and IT staff (Harrison, 2010). Determining whether the implementation of hypervisors have an impact on system administrator's productivity and ability to get the most value possible from these technologies is also addressed in this analysis.

Hypervisors Have A Vital Role In Enterprise Computing:

Evaluating Their Technical Advantages and Disadvantages

Managing the gaining expertise with the use of hypervisors is critically important for enterprises of all sizes, with the focus being particularly important in Fortune 500-class businesses that have large-scale IT infrastructures that deliver cost reduction gains in the millions of dollars when virtualization is adopted. Hypervisors translate the hardware and software virtualization benefits into business value by enabling the creation and management of virtual machines (VM) that enable hardware, software or firmware systems to run third-party operating systems and applications (Armstrong, Djemame, 2011). A hypervisor can also be used for defining host machine status across a broad network of virtualized devices, increasing capacity utilization of each hardware platform while also increasing enterprise-wide application performance (Hwang, Zeng, Wu, Wood, 2013). Hypervisors vary significantly in their architecture, algorithms for accomplishing optimization and extent of their support for advanced virtualization and network functions, yet all have the ability to define and execute hardware-independent processes and calls over time (Jin, Wen, Chen, Zhu, 2013). Hypervisors orchestrate legacy operating system and application support as well, ensuring a virtualized system or network of servers can co-exist and integrate with legacy and 3rd party applications and operating systems, often the largest single area of financial investment by enterprises. There continues to be a significant amount of hype regarding virtualization in general and the contributions of hypervisors specifically. Research and advisory firm Gartner, who advises enterprises on how to gain the greatest value from their investments in virtualization in general and hypervisors specifically, creates a hype cycle of virtualization every year. Figure 1 presents the Gartner Hyper Cycle for Virtualization for 2013.

Figure 1: Gartner Hype Cycle for Virtualization, 2013

Source: (Gartner Hype Cycle for Virtualization, 2013)

VM-based hypervisors are delivering the greatest value to enterprises as can be seen by their location on the "Plateau of Productivity: as shown in the figure above. Gartner's methodology concentrates on the key aspects of CIOs and their staff's needs for prescriptive guidance on which technologies have proven to have the greatest vs. least business value over time. This analysis further illustrates the value of hypervisors to enterprises as a cost reduction strategy that can also contribute to strategic objectives also being met more efficiently and in less time than would otherwise be the case.

The technical advantages and disadvantages of using hypervisors are discussed and analyzed in this section of the report. Hypervisors are excellent for providing a standardized container technology for getting the most out of legacy and 3rd party application investments as their structure allows for device independence of these applications (Armstrong, Djemame, 2011). A second advantage of hypervisors is the continual investments virtualization vendors are making their security and stability, including the continued adoption of multitenancy-based architectures that support cloud computing environments more effectively than the single tenancy architectures that dominated the first generation of hypervisor technologies (Jin, Wen, Chen, Zhu, 2013). The third advantage is the combining of multitenancy and security is a core requirement for many enterprises adopting cloud computing today, as the majority are first adopting a private cloud-based architecture leading long-term of hybrid cloud deployments (Armstrong, Djemame, 2011). The fourth technical advantage of hypervisors today and the direction their development is going in include greater hardware independence and fault tolerance (Jeffery, Figueiredo, 2012). Hypervisor are by definition abstracted form the hardware layer of a system, yet having fault tolerance of the hardware platform itself and the ability to use VMs to fail over and recover applications is a rapidly evolving area today (Pearce, Zeadally, Hunt, 2013). The fifth technical advantage is the scalability of having multiple VMs on the same server or series of hardware platforms, what large-scale enterprises often call a server or IT complex (Hwang, Zeng, Wu, Wood, 2013). The combining of scalability and security continue to also accelerate as more enterprises are looking to use VMs to run their large-scale Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and platforms on, alleviating the system and architectural bottlenecks of their previous systems. Using VMs to run ERP and large-scale supply chain management (SCM) systems is essential for any enterprise that has global operations. Virtualization is aiding enterprises to operate on a more global level, creating a more unified, scalable and secure system of record to operate large-scale production and service centers form (Armstrong, Djemame, 2011). The sixth technical advantage of hypervisors is their ability to have multiple, often thousands of VMs, running on the same platform (Harrison, 2010). This advantage is what drives the economics of virtualization and makes the consolidation of servers and the reduction of operating system costs so compelling (Armstrong, Djemame, 2011). A seventh advantage that is growing very rapidly today is the use of hypervisors on bare metal servers which remove the layers of software and overhead between the hypervisor itself and the hardware (Zhang, Chen, 2013). This results in significantly faster hypervisor performance with no degradation of overall application performance. All of these advantages taken together are what are fueling the widespread of adoption of hypervisors throughout enterprises (Jeffery, Figueiredo, 2012).

The disadvantages of hypervisor include the fact that very large-scale CMs often will not scale well and will experience performance degradation over time (Ma, Ye, Liang, Guan, Li, 2013). Larger VMs also tend to degrade from a performance standpoint as they are more tuned to specific server and IT architectures as well as smaller VMs designed for less complex tasks (Jin, Wen, Chen, Zhu, 2013). By definition, hypervisors also need to have specific hardware platforms to operate on, often with very specific hardware prerequisites and requirements. This can increase the cost of using a hypervisor significantly as specific hardware needs to be purchased for a series of VMs to operate effectively. The second disadvantage of hypervisors is their cost and the complex pricing and maintenance cost schemes often used by Microsoft and others. The costs of a hypervisor are indexed to workloads by many vendors, which makes forecasting the total cost of using them exceptionally difficult for large-scale IT departments (Armstrong, Djemame, 2011). The total costs of running a IT architecture on a hypervisor-based architecture can and often do exceed budget as a result, leading to greater reduction in spending and more scrutiny as to the real value of hypervisors specifically and virtualization in general (Pearce, Zeadally, Hunt, 2013). The third disadvantage, and this is a significant consideration for ever5y enterprise using them, is the fact that all of them are not compatible with all the same operating systems (Jeffery, Figueiredo, 2012). This creates a challenging situation for any IT planning staff and makes the CIO's job exceptionally difficult as they grapple to have their legacy applications and systems supported on VMs yet the hype4rvisors must often be tweaked with special patches to support older and more unique operating systems (Armstrong, Djemame, 2011). Worst case in this scenario is the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Hypervisors Analysis of Virtualization.  (2013, December 15).  Retrieved December 6, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hypervisors-analysis-virtualization/7206610

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