Servers deployed by many IT companies often do not use their capacity because the physical server is dedicated to a specific application. This means that excess available capacity is not used up, leading to increased operational and IT costs. To overcome this inefficiency, it is important to understand what virtualization is and how to enable virtualization.
What is virtualization?
Virtualization is the technology that creates virtual versions of various resources such as operating system, server, storage, etc., thus allowing the software to replicate the hardware functionality and leads to the creation of a virtual system independent of the hardware. This is similar to multiple operating systems running simultaneously on a single computer system. Multiple virtual machines (VMs) or virtual machines are formed by dividing hardware resources such as processors, servers, storage, and so on. A hypervisor is a thin layer of software that separates virtual machines from the host and interactively allocates resources according to the needs of the virtual machine. For applications that run on virtual machines, the virtualized or guest system appears to have its own special resources with different operating systems, libraries, and programs independent of the host system.
Many users and applications with different requirements can use the server, as virtualization provides the flexibility to break down a complex system into smaller pieces. This is common practice in enterprise IT architecture, and it is the technology that facilitates the economics of cloud computing by allowing different users to share the infrastructure.
System requirements for hardware virtualization
- Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise
- 64-bit processor with second level address conversion (SLAT)
- 4 GB system RAM (minimum)
- Support for BIOS-level hardware virtualization
Why do you need to enable virtualization?
Virtualization can increase scalability while reducing costs. Some of the benefits that enabling virtualization can bring to an organization are:
- Cost savings – When you enable virtualization, one physical server is replaced by multiple virtual machines, reducing inactive computation time and promoting optimal resource utilization. Staff management time can be facilitated by improved server usage. By enabling virtualization, organizations facing resource issues can remove multiple servers.
- Reduce downtime and flexibility during disaster recovery – When a physical server is affected, replacement or repair often takes time. With virtualization, the virtual machine can be cloned or replicated, which significantly speeds up the recovery process and improves business continuity.
- Improved performance and efficiency – Given the nature of the virtual environment, virtual machines are easier to install, maintain, and update. Hardware maintenance and monitoring efforts can be drastically reduced, as the same updates are not required on each server. Thus improving the use of the IT team effectively.
- Development and testing – Virtual machine simulation helps the developer to perform tests without changing the production environment. Software updates can be implemented faster because the environment offers flexibility for development and testing.
- Improved security – Because virtual servers are isolated, security is more adaptable in an environment that protects virtual machines from malware and malicious attacks as they move from one host to another.
How do I enable virtualization in Windows 10/11?
To enable virtualization in Windows 10/11, make sure that the device supports virtualization by checking the BIOS (Basic Input System) or UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) firmware settings as follows:
Through the command line
- Execute the command line
- Enter the systeminfo.exe command
- The command will collect system information and display the result
- Check the requirements of Hyper -V
- If the virtualization enabled in the firmware shows Yes, Windows Sandbox can be used.
Check the Performance tab of Task Manager
If virtualization is disabled, follow these steps to enable it in BIOS or UEFI settings.
How do I enable BIOS virtualization?
- Restart the computer
- While the system is rebooting from a black screen, enter the BIOS by pressing the shortcut key. Shortcuts vary depending on the brand of computer you are using. Usually the F1, F2, F3, F10, Esc or Delete keys are the shortcut keys to enter the BIOS
- Scroll to the Advanced tab and press Enter to continue
- Select Virtualization and Activation
- Save the changes and restart the computer
- The BIOS can also be accessed through Windows in Settings.
How do I enable Windows 10 virtualization?
1. Go to Windows Settings
2. Click Update and Security
3. Click Restart now on the Recovery tab to log in to the Windows Recovery Environment
4. Click Troubleshooting> Advanced> UEFI Firmware Settings.
5. To continue, click Restart
6. The BIOS settings will be displayed. Select Virtualization and activate it
How do I enable virtualization without a BIOS?
To enable virtualization without opening the BIOS, follow these steps:
- Navigate to the Security tab and press Enter in CPU Setup
- Select Intel (R) Virtualization Technology and press Enter
- Select Activate and press Enter
- Press F10
- Press Enter to select Yes to save the settings and Start in Windows
- Virtualization provides a cost-effective way to separate email, database, and web servers, resulting in an inclusive and reliable system
- Key components such as file systems and disk drivers can be developed using virtualization without compromising stability
- Data virtualization involves splitting the database layer, which is located between storage layers and applications within the entire application stack. The data remains in the output systems and can be consumed through an integrated view
- It is possible to deploy virtual machines from the cloud infrastructure data center. Migrating to the cloud is made easier through virtualization
- Virtualization reduces hardware dependency. There is no downtime, as virtual machines can be migrated from one hardware to another
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is virtualization?
Virtualization is the creation of a virtual version of an operating system, server, storage device, or network resource.
2. List the different types of virtualization.
- Application virtualization
- Hardware virtualization
- Desktop virtualization
- Network virtualization
- Server virtualization
- Storage virtualization
3. What are the advantages of virtualization?
- Cost reduction
- Multiple systems can be installed on one platform
- Reduces the space required to install data centers
- Reduced dependence on hardware to run complex applications
4. Name the components of the VM infrastructure.
- web browser
- License server
- Virtual center server
- Virtual Infrastructure Client (VI).
- ESX server host
5. How do containers differ from virtual machines?
Although containers and virtual machines are similar resources, the key difference between the two is that virtual machines fully virtualize a system, including hardware layers, while containers virtualize software layers above the operating system level.
6. What is Hypervisor?
A hypervisor, also known as a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM), is the software used to create and start virtual machines (VMs). It allows the host computer to share its resources, such as memory and processing, to support virtual guest machines.
7. What are the types of hypervisors?
- Type 1 or Bare metal is a lightweight hypervisor that works directly on the host hardware
- Type 2 or a hosted hypervisor that runs as a software layer on an operating system similar to other computer programs
8. What is QEMU?
QEMU is a free, open source machine emulator that can run programs and operating systems from one machine to another.
9. What is Docker?
Docker is open source virtualization software that helps develop and launch applications. The application is isolated from the host infrastructure by Docker. Docker contains all dependencies, ie. libraries and frameworks for effective application implementation.
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In this article, you learned the different methods you can use to enable virtualization. Virtualization can help you deploy virtual machines from the data center to build a secure cloud-based infrastructure. If you want to take a closer look at these concepts, check out our DevOps Postgraduate Program. This course was developed in collaboration with Caltech CTME and can help you establish a career in DevOps.
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