In computing, virtualization means to create a virtual version of a device or resource, such as a server, storage device, network or even an operating system where the framework divides the resource into one or more execution environments. Even something as simple as partitioning a hard drive is considered virtualization because you take one drive and partition it to create two separate hard drives. Devices, applications and human users are able to interact with the virtual resource as if it were a real single logical resource. The term virtualization has become somewhat of a buzzword, and as a result the term is now associated with a number of computing technologies including the following:
- storage virtualization: the amalgamation of multiple network storage devices into what appears to be a single storage unit.
- server virtualization: the partitioning a physical server into smaller virtual servers.
- operating system-level virtualization: a type of server virtualization technology which works at the operating system (kernel) layer.
- network virtualization: using network resources through a logical segmentation of a single physical network.
- application virtualization
See also virtual.
Contrast with physical.
Compare virtualization with emulation.