On a higher level, virtualization refers to various types of software designed to provide a layer of abstraction between computer hardware systems and the software running on them.

In practice, virtualization usually refers to creating a virtual (non-physical) version of an operating device, server, a storage device or network resources.

Operating system virtualization involves using software to permit hardware to run multiple operating system “images”, or functional versions, simultaneously. The idea of virtualization was first developed on mainframes decades ago, as partitioning, which divides a physical server into multiple logical servers, minimized expensive processing power requirements.

The three most common types of virtualization today are network virtualization, server virtualization and storage virtualization.

1. Network virtualization is a method of pooling available network resources by splitting up the available bandwidth into independent channels, each of which can be assigned to a specific device in real time. Virtualization in effect disguises the complexity of a network by dividing it into smaller, more manageable parts.

2. Storage virtualization involves the combining of physical storage from more than one network storage device into a single virtual storage device controlled from a central location. Storage virtualization is very common in larger storage area networks.

3. Server virtualization involves hiding server resources, such as the number and identity of physical servers, CPUs, and operating systems from server users. The general idea to minimize the management of the complicated details of server resources, while improving resource sharing and ensuring easy scalability.

Application and server management software industry leader Idera designs all of their solutions with virtualization in mind. Business networks if all sizes today are going virtual, and Idera’s database management products, including their flagship SQL Diagnostic Manager,  greatly simplify the management of even the largest and most complex hybrid and virtual environments.