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A variety of technologies for managing computer resources by providing a software interface, known as an "abstraction layer," between the software (operating system and applications) and the hardware. Virtualization turns "physical" RAM and storage into "logical" resources. Following are the ways virtualization is used. See logical vs. physical.

Hardware Virtualization
Partitioning the computer's memory into separate and isolated "virtual machines" simulates multiple machines within one physical computer. It enables multiple copies of the same or different operating systems to run in the computer and also prevents applications from interfering with each other. See virtual machine and OS virtualization.

Network and Storage Virtualization
In a network, virtualization consolidates multiple devices into a logical view so they can be managed from a single console (see network virtualization). Virtualization also enables multiple storage devices to be accessed the same way no matter what their type or location (see storage virtualization).

Application Virtualization
Computer people love the word "virtualization," and vendors use the term for virtually anything. Numerous technologies fall under the umbrella of "application virtualization," some of which have been around for decades, while others are at the forefront. See application virtualization.
References in periodicals archive ?
Table 2: Worldwide Virtualization Software Market (2007):
The new event has already secured Platinum Sponsor agreements from the industry's biggest virtualization vendors, including Citrix, Microsoft and VMware, as well as Quest Software and ManageIQ, two of the brightest newcomers to the sector.
Block storage virtualization utilizes an intelligent hardware platform that is either embedded directly into the storage network or sits between virtualized storage and the SAN.
Virtualization can benefit insurance IT departments through:
All of these data and stories are collected in this research report, to provide end user organizations and software vendors with a unique combination of quantitative and qualitative research into real world experiences of endpoint virtualization.
Rationale Behind the Waxing Popularity of Server Virtualization Software II-4
For a first-hand perspective on how to prepare for and overcome challenges with application virtualization, I turned to Ray Leitz, CTO of AcXess, a business continuity provider for SMEs.
It is based on new empirical research - including an extensive survey, focal interviews, and case studies - into virtualization and the IT management implications of virtualization technologies.
The Growing Indispensability of Virtualization in Enterprise
These file virtualization switches use industry standard CIFS and NFS protocols to virtualize existing heterogeneous file systems.
But virtualization can be applied to all IT resources from servers to storage to networks to desktops and is not one-size-fits-all.
The initial deployments of intelligent switches during the first half of 2006 will support virtualization services, where the switch's intelligence (read: deep packet inspection and operation) will be used to perform virtual disk address to physical disk address translations in addition to supporting RAID (mirroring, striping) features at the array-level.