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Platform Integration

Platform Integration: Physical Hardware and Virtualization

The first area that we’ll cover is platform integration as it relates to physical hardware and virtualization. There are many components that make up the physical infrastructure of a server environment or ‘cloud.’ In order for each piece of hardware to function properly in the environment, it is imperative that each device be able to successfully communicate with its counterparts. For instance- the server(s) providing resources such as CPU, memory, etc. must be able to interact with the other aspects of the environment such as networking devices and storage devices (assuming the storage is not locally attached to the servers). This where the hypervisor running on the server comes in.

What is a Hypervisor?

A Hypervisor, sometimes referred to as a virtual machine monitor (VMM) is software, firmware, or hardware that operates virtual systems such as computers, servers, storage or network devices. The computer, or server that runs the hypervisor is referred to as the host machine, and all of the virtual machines operated by the hypervisor are referred to as ‘guest machines. The host machine, in which the hypervisor is installed on, presents the operating systems of the guest machines and masks the physical components of the system from the end-user. Various instances of operating systems (such as macOS, Linux, Windows, and UNIX-based operating systems) can use the same hardware resources that the hypervisor operates on. In addition to guest operating systems, the hypervisor can also manage networking devices, storage volumes, and other infrastructure devices virtually. This essentially allows a systems engineer to almost fully manage a datacenter from anywhere. This concept is referred to as Data Center Virtualization.

How does Data Center Virtualization Fit in?

For data center virtualization to be possible, the hypervisor software must allow for integration to a number of different platforms. For instance, the physical server in use must support and be able to effectively run the hypervisor OS itself, and the hypervisor technology in use must be able to support all of the hardware devices plugged into the physical server in order to virtualize the environment. Examples of hypervisor technologies that have achieved this concept of platform integration and compatibility include VMware ESX/ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenServer to name a few.

Until Next Time…

Now that we’ve covered what a hypervisor is and the role platform integration plays, our next topic will go over backup and storage solutions and how they interconnect with the hypervisor, physical architecture, and other components of the datacenter. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us to speak with an expert.