The rapid development of the market of virtualization technologies occurred in many respects due to the increase in the capacities of the hardware which allowed creating the effective platforms of virtualization both for server systems and desktop computers. The virtualization technologies allow starting several virtual copies of operating systems (guest OS) from one physical computer (host) while ensuring their independence from a hardware platform and concentration of several virtual computers on the physical one (Wen, Tiwary & Le-Ngoc, 2013, p. 5). Virtualization provides a set of advantages, both for the infrastructure of enterprises and for the end-users. It is one of the key technologies allowing to construct and operate a reliable, safe, and most effective IT infrastructure. In the process of the development of its opportunities, the state-of-the-art in terms of the network virtualization will include the transfer to the completely dynamic enterprise, in which information technologies will be flexibly and quickly adjusted to almost any changes in business (Khan, et al., 2015, p. 2). The given research paper describes the essence of the network virtualization, perspectives of the technology, and the reasons why clients choose it.
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The Essence of the Network Virtualization
The term virtualization in computer technologies appeared in the 1960s, together with the term virtual computer meaning the product of virtualization of a hardware-software platform. At that time, virtualization was more like an interesting technical finding than a perspective technology. Initially, the idea of virtualization was offered by the IBM Company long before the emergence of the Windows software. After the appearance of the experimental paging system, the term virtual machine replaced the earlier used pseudo car. Then, in the mainframes of IBM of the System 360/370 series, it was possible to use virtual computers for saving the previous versions of operating systems. Until the end of the 1990s, only IBM widely used this original technology. However, the prospects of the virtualization approach became obvious in the 1990s. With the growth of hardware capacities, both personal computers and servers gave the opportunity to use several virtual computers on one platform (Wen, Tiwary & Le-Ngoc, 2013, p. 8).
Virtualization of operating systems developed to a considerable degree in terms of both technological and marketing aspects. On the one hand, it became much simpler to use the virtualization products, as they became more reliable and functional. On the other hand, many new interesting applications for virtual computers were developed (Wen, Tiwary & Le-Ngoc, 2013, p. 6).
Virtualization is a key technique for the realization of the Future Internet, and it is indeed quite pertinent to explore it in the context of WSNs. Virtualization makes it possible to present physical computing resources by abstracting them into logical units, enabling their efficient usage by multiple independent users, including multiple concurrent applications (Khan, et al., 2015, p.1).
The scope of virtualization can be defined as a place with computers. According to Khan et al., (2015), there are the following options for the use of virtualization products:
1. The consolidation of servers.
At present, the applications working on the companies servers create a small load of the hardware resources (on average, 5-15 percent). Virtualization allows migrating from these physical servers to the virtual ones and placing all of them on a single physical server, thus increasing its loading up to 60-80 percent as well as improving the equipment efficiency, which allows saving on the equipment, service, and electric power significantly.
2. The development and testing of applications.
The virtualization products allow developers of the software to test their applications on various platforms and configurations. The creation of the test environments allows increasing the speed and quality of production.
3. Application in business.
This option of virtual computers’ use is the most extensive and creative one. On the basis of virtual computers, it is possible to create backup copies of workstations and servers, build the systems providing the minimum time of the restoration after failures, etc.
4. The use of virtual working stations.
Having created the virtual computer with the working or house environment once, it is possible to use it on any other computer. The concept of such use of virtual workstations can be realized on the basis of the host servers as well as moveable desktops. This option also gives the opportunity to create the protected user workstations, which can be used, for example, for the demonstration of program opportunities to the client (Khan et al., 2015, p. 3-4).
There are five main advantages that explain why network virtualization is widely used by world companies. They include the decrease of expenditures for the physical infrastructure, the increase of flexibility and speed of the system reaction, the spread of the applications in the company’s activity, the advanced control system and safety of desktop personal computers as well as the consolidation of servers and optimization of infrastructure. Moreover, virtualization became the technological basis for cloud computing, which, in its turn, was the reason for the structural transformation of both IT systems of the enterprises and the IT market in general (Letaifa, et al., 2010, p. 83). At present, the ideas and technologies of virtualization are rather perspectives for the general development of IT technologies.
Thus, the vendors of various virtualization platforms have successful projects in terms of the introduction of the virtual infrastructure in large banks, industrial companies, hospitals, educational institutions, etc. In addition, the market of virtualization is filled with the powerful tools of management, migration, and support of the virtual infrastructures, allowing to use the advantages of virtualization most fully.
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The Perspectives of Network Virtualization
According to Wen, Tiwary, and Le-Ngoc (2013), virtualization of an IT resource (a server, an operation system, data storage devices, network service, etc.) means that the creation of the virtual version of a device does not exist in reality, but seems real to the users (Wen, Tiwary & Le-Ngoc, 2013, p. 8). The splitting of the hard disk into the logical disks is the first example of it. The other one is represented by the virtualization of the operation systems, represented by the start of several other computers on the separate host. The network virtualization consists of the transfer of the specialized functions, like the analyzers of traffic, brand mowers, balancers of loading realized on the specialized network equipment to the modern server hardware. The modern servers created on the multinuclear processors possess a high efficiency; the modern communication channels also have a high capacity, which allows carrying out the specified network functions. Business is rather interested in the large-scale introduction of the network virtualization technology as the capital and operational expenditures significantly decrease, along with the electricity consumption and the time for the expansion of networks (Wen, Tiwary & Le-Ngoc, 2013, p. 8).
Virtualization, however, has enabled a new generation of datacenters. Instead of each workload requiring a dedicated server, virtualization makes it possible to run multiple workloads on the same server. This addresses the issue of low server utilization; it also reduces the total number of physical servers and thus overall power consumption in the datacenter (Windows Server, 2012, p. 8).
The need for a new network paradigm arose for the following reasons:
The change of the traffic movement models. In modern data-processing centers, the inquiry from the client forms numerous horizontal informational shifts between computers until the reply is created and sent to the client;
The growth of cloudy services. There is an unprecedented growth of the cloudy services, both public and private. The users want to have fast on-demand access. The problem is complicated by the fact that when planning cloudy services, it is necessary to consider the escalating requirements for safety, compatibility, audit, and also dynamics of the business development, like reorganization, merges, and separations of enterprises;
The substantial volumes of information demand the continuous growth of the bandwidth of channels. The management of mega-missives of data requires the parallel processing on the hundreds of servers directly connected with each other;
Currently, the projects dedicated to the virtualization of the IT infrastructure are actively implemented by many leading companies occupied with the system integration and being the authorized partners of the virtualization systems providers (Letaifa, et al., 2010, p. 84). There are a lot of causes for the prompt growth and a wide application of network virtualization. The main advantages of virtualization include the increase of efficiency of the use of computing resources, decrease in the costs of their administration and support, the possibility of the centralized control of servers, etc. Furthermore, a crucial component of the virtualization technology includes the provision of the continuity of business processes in the virtual environment. It is much cheaper to use 2-3 highly productive virtual hosts instead of 30-40 physical servers (Khan, et al., 2015, p. 9).
There are two most expected tendencies in the network virtualization market. First of all, the further development of virtualization means, a broader penetration of the new technologies into a business environment is expected. Thus, it is the deepening of virtualization (servers, storage systems, networks, and client equipment). The organizations develop web services, Microsoft SQL, and even the object and relational Oracle database management systems (DMS) in their virtual environments. The Oracle Database needs considerable computing resources, but the virtual computers cope with such resource-intensive products (Khan et al., 2015, p.).
The second perspective trend is the storage virtualization, which incorporates several technologies allowing companies to operate a large number of the systems of data storage by means of the combination of stores in a uniform virtual pool. It is the transfer to the widely usage of cloud services and general shifting of the market from the sales of software to the service relations between IT-providers and IT-customers. In this regard, VMware presented the vSphere Storage Appliance tools which successfully solve the problems of the transformation of the internal server systems of storage in the distributed pool of storages. Thus, storage virtualization has a promising future in the sphere of business (Storage Virtualization Workbook, 2008, p. 4).
As for the computing environment, there will be the transition from the unique complex server systems to the work in virtual environments on simple calculators. There is also a tendency for the development of the automatization means of the virtual environment management. Moreover, the focus has shifted from the tasks of consolidation of minor loadings towards the increase of availability and continuity of the work of business and vital applications. Increasingly more companies prefer placing the most critical loadings for business on the standard servers of architecture x86, which allows providing the high efficiency of applications and substantial increase in terms of their availability.
Under the situation of the global economic crisis, companies try to lower the expenses. Virtualization is one of the technologies which allows doing it. The world states tend to create a chain of IT services on the service principles, which is impossible without virtualization and clouds. However, the development of the service relations between a supplier and a client will demand the development of the automation equipment of management of all virtualized components for more exact billing and monitoring of the services provided by the virtualized elements (Letaifa, et al., 2010, p. 83).
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Why Clients Choose Virtualization?
The technologies of virtualization and methods of their application do not standstill. There are new products, tools, and vectors of development. In addition, the competitive situation in the market has changed recently. Its understanding and the right assessment of the developmental prospects of this direction in the market are essential in regard to the formation of the strategy of own IT development. It is especially crucial for those clients who are getting familiar with the opportunities opened by virtualization (Wang, Iyer, Dutta & Rouskas, 2013, p. 3). ). If I were making purchase recommendations for the clients, I would recommend using several solutions of the network virtualization, such as the Hyper-V network and VMware vSphere.
The virtualization of the Hyper-V network breaks the link of the virtual networks with the infrastructure of a physical network and exempts the process of preparation of a virtual computer from the restrictions connected with a virtual local network and hierarchical purpose of the IP addresses. This flexibility provides the clients with the ease of moving to the IaaS clouds, service providers and administrators of data-processing centers with the rationality of the management of their infrastructure. At the same time, there is a necessary isolation of several clients, safety requirements and the support of the blocked IP addresses of virtual computers (Jammal, 2014, p. 6).
The way of the organic expansion of the data-processing centers in a cloud is necessary for clients. At present, the creation of such an integral hybrid cloudy architecture is connected with some technical difficulties. One of the most serious problems facing clients includes the preservation of the existing network topology (a subnet, an IP address, network services, etc.) in a cloud. Another difficulty is the organization of communication between the local and cloudy resources (Wang, Iyer, Dutta & Rouskas, 2013, p. 9).
In this regard, the Hyper-V network represents the example of the widely used virtual network. The virtualization of the Hyper-V network realizes the concept of a network of the virtual computer which does not depend on the physical network. Thus, the network has several physical switch ports and virtual machines (Fig. 1). It allows the clients to easily transfer the virtual subnets to a cloud, keeping at the same time the existing IP addresses and topology in a cloud at the expense of what the existing services continue working, irrespective of the physical arrangement of the subnets. Therfore, the virtualization of the Hyper-V network allows creating an integral hybrid cloud.
The benefits of this solution include the customary interface, a wide apparatus compatibility as well as the integration with the existing virtualization networks. Among the limitations of this solution, there is the poor support of the software providers and the smaller number of functions. Despite the fact that the support of the virtualization technologies is defined by a set of factors, Hyper-V is not the most supported hypervisor for the third-party applications. The Hyper-V technology does not offer the failure-safe virtual computer, which can simultaneously work at two hosts, and there are fewer opportunities for the restoration of the virtual system in case of failures than in vSphere (Jammal, 2014, p.8).
For the clients and owners of working loading, the main advantage consists in the possibility to move the topology of the working loading to a cloud, without changing the IP addresses or rewriting the applications (Jammal, et al., 2014, p. 20). For example, the usual business application includes the interface part, business logic and database levels. The virtualization of the Hyper-V network allows the client to transfer these three levels to the cloud entirely or partially, keeping at the same time the topology of routing and the IP address of services without demanding the change of applications.
For the infrastructure owners, the additional freedom in the placement of virtual computers means the possibility of the transfer of working loadings to any place of data-processing centers without the change of the virtual computers (Jammal, et al., 2014, p. 20). For example, the virtualization of the Hyper-V network provides the dynamic migration between the subnets for the virtual computer to move to any place of the data-processing center by means of the dynamic migration without the maintenance stops. Earlier, the dynamic migration could be executed only within one subnet; thus, the locations of virtual computers were limited. The dynamic migration between the subnets allows administrators to unite the working loadings on the basis of the dynamic requirements to resources, the efficiency of energy consumption also provides the possibility of carrying out the service of infrastructure without the stops in the functioning of the client’s working loads.
Another solution, which I would recommend to the clients is represented by the VMware vSphere – a free apparatus hypervisor, used for the virtualization of servers and consolidation of applications at the smaller volume equipment. VMware is one of the leading companies in the market of virtualization platforms. The virtualization of VMware helps to reduce capital expenses by the consolidation of servers, and the operational costs via automation. Moreover, there is possibility of the emergency restoration in the virtualized infrastructure by means of the improved and simplified emergency restoration solutions.
The advantages of VMware vSphere include the biggest support of providers and the widest number of functions. This solution is suitable not only for big corporations, but also for the middle organizations, which need the virtualization means of the corporate class, possessing the high productivity. Among the limitation of the application of this solution, there is the high initial cost and the hardware incompatibility. The simple comparison of the cost of main virtualization solutions in the recalculation for one processor shows that the par value of vSphere is more than the cost of the competing products. Moreover, despite the fact that the compatibility of vSphere continues to extend, other virtualization solutions have a broader hardware support.
I believe that the virtualization solution based on the interaction of networks with the virtual machines in the physical network is the new possible solution of network virtualization. Both programs virtual and physical switchboards will play an important role in the course of the creation of the new generation networks where it is required to provide the effective support of virtual computers. The advantage is received by those products which will allow including the network objects of both types in the uniform switching environment. Moreover, it will be good to build it on the principles of factory – with the minimum of hierarchical levels and support of all communication lines in the active state, providing a low delay and protection from the all-system refusal.
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Consequently, virtualization has brought a set of new and perspective opportunities approached by most of the server systems users with enthusiasm. Many world companies introduce the technologies of virtualization of servers and desktop systems. The technologies of virtualization proved their efficiency. They represent the whole concept significantly changing the approach towards the IT infrastructure and increasing its efficiency and flexibility due to the simultaneous start of several virtual systems on the physical one. At present, virtualization is applied at the most various levels of the abstraction of program and hardware systems, beginning from the virtualization of applications up to virtualization of the data storage systems.
Virtualization optimizes the use of IT resources, considering the physical resources of the company as the reservoirs of the virtual resources. Using virtualization, it is possible to consolidate the resources, such as processors, disk space, and networks, in the environment. At the same time, there are several independently working virtual systems that use virtual resources. Thus, there are a lot of perspectives for the widely spread future development of network virtualization.