Server Virtualization Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing server virtualization and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

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  • A

    AMD (Advanced Micro Devices)

    AMD is the second largest maker of personal computer microprocessors after Intel.

  • AMD-V (AMD virtualization)

    AMD-V (AMD virtualization) is a set of hardware extensions for the X86 processor architecture. Advanced Micro Dynamics (AMD) designed the extensions to perform repetitive tasks normally performed by software and improve resource use and virtual machine (VM) performance.

  • B

    bare metal environment

    A bare metal environment is a computer system or network in which a virtual machine is installed directly on hardware rather than within the host operating system (OS)... (Continued)

  • bare-metal hypervisor

    A bare-metal hypervisor, also known as a Type 1 hypervisor, is virtualization software that has been installed directly onto the computing hardware.

  • C

    Certified OpenStack Administrator

    Certified OpenStack Administrator (COA) is a vendor-agnostic exam designed by the OpenStack Foundation in conjunction with a number of international partners to test an administrator's abilities in cloud management and day-to-day operations.

  • child partition

    A child partition is a logical hard drive division in the Microsoft Hyper-V environment that runs an isolated operating system.

  • Citrix Workflow Studio

    Citrix Workflow Studio is a workflow automation software product.

  • Citrix XenServer

    Citrix XenServer is an open source server virtualization platform based on the Xen hypervisor.

  • cloud-to-cloud migration

    Cloud-to-cloud migration (C2C) is the movement of physical or virtual machines -- along with their associated configurations, operating systems, applications and storage -- from one cloud computing provider to another.

  • Cluster Labs Pacemaker

    Pacemaker is an open source high-availability cluster software developed from a collaboration between Red Hat and Novell.

  • cold cloning

    Cold cloning is a cloning method that takes place while the server OS is not running.

  • CompTIA Cloud Essentials

    CompTIA Cloud Essentials is an entry-level, vendor-neutral cloud certification.

  • D

    dynamic memory allocation (in virtualization)

    Dynamic memory allocation is a memory management technique in which a program can request and return memory while it is executing. 

  • E

    early adopter

    An early adopter is a person who embraces new technology before most other people do. Early adopters tend to buy or try out new hardware items and programs, and new versions of existing programs, sooner than most of their peers. According to a theory called Diffusion of Innovations (DoI) formulated by Everett Rogers, early adopters make up 13.5 percent of the population.

  • ESXi Shell

    ESXi Shell is a VMware vSphere management tool that performs VMware commands that perform maintenance tasks like network, system, storage and more.

  • G

    Generation 1 VM (generation 1 virtual machine)

    A Generation 1 VM is a virtual machine that uses the original Hyper-V BIOS-based architecture.

  • generation 2 virtual machines (generation 2 VMs)

    Generation 2 virtual machines are Microsoft Hyper-V virtual servers that use the second generation of virtual hardware.

  • golden image

    A golden image is a template for a virtual machine (VM), virtual desktop, server or hard disk drive.  A golden image may also be referred to as a clone image or master image.

  • GSX Server

    GSX Server is a server virtualization program for Windows and Linux produced and distributed by VMware, a subsidiary of EMC Corporation and headquartered in Palo Alto, California... (Continued)

  • guest OS (guest operating system)

    A guest OS (guest operating system) is the operating system installed on a virtual machine or partitioned disk.

  • guest virtual machine (guest VM)

    A guest virtual machine (guest VM) is the software component of a virtual machine (VM), an independent instance of an operating system (called a guest operating system) and its associated software and information.

  • H

    hardware emulation

    Hardware emulation is the use of one hardware device to mimic the function of another hardware device.  Microsoft's Hyper-V includes hardware emulation because the Integration Services can only be installed on certain guest operating systems.

  • hardware virtualization

    Hardware virtualization, which is also known as server virtualization or simply virtualization, is the abstraction of computing resources from the software that uses those resources.

  • hardware-assisted virtualization

    Hardware-assisted virtualization is the use of a computer's physical components to support the mechanism that abstracts and manages the computer's underlying resources from its operating system and the applications that run on it.

  • host virtual machine (host VM)

    A host virtual machine is the server component of a virtual machine (VM), the underlying hardware that provides computing resources to support a particular guest virtual machine (guest VM).

  • hot cloning

    Hot cloning is a cloning method that takes place while the server OS is running.

  • HP Virtual Server Environment (HP VSE)

    The HP Virtual Server Environment (HP VSE) is a server virtualization product developed by Hewlett-Packard (HP) to optimize resource utilization in their HP Integrity and HP 9000 servers... (Continued)

  • Hyper-V Replica

    Hyper-V Replica is a free disaster recovery tool in Hyper-V 3.0 that creates and maintains copies of virtual machines (VMs ). In the event of a catastrophic loss, an administrator can failover to the replica VMs and provide business continuity.

  • hypervisor

    A hypervisor is a function that abstracts -- isolates -- operating systems (OSes) and applications from the underlying computer hardware.

  • I

    I/O fencing (input/output fencing)

    I/O (input/output) fencing is the isolation of a malfunctioning node from a cluster's shared storage to protect the integrity of data.

  • Intel VT (Virtualization Technology)

    Intel VT (Virtualization Technology) is the company's hardware assistance for processors running virtualization platforms.

  • IT showback

    An IT showback system tracks the data center utilization rates of an organization’s business units or end users.

  • K

    KSM (kernel samepage merging)

    KSM (kernel samepage merging) is a Linux kernel feature that allows the KVM hypervisor to share identical memory pages among different process or virtual machines on the same server.

  • L

    linked clones

    Linked clones are copies of virtual machines that share virtual disks with the parent VM, which conserves space and allows multiple VMs to use the same software.

  • Linux virtual machine (Linux VM)

    A Linux virtual machine is a virtual machine (VM) that is running a distribution of Linux as the guest operating system (guest OS).

  • live migration

    Live migration is the movement of a virtual machine from one physical host to another while continuously powered-up... (Continued)

  • M

    MCSE Private Cloud (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert Private Cloud)

    Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) Private Cloud is a new Microsoft certification covering Windows 2012 Hyper-V and System Center 2012, as well as applications such as SharePoint and Exchange.

  • memory mirroring

    Memory mirroring is the division of memory on a server into two channels. The first channel is mirrored to the second channel, creating a redundant copy of memory.

  • memory overcommit (or overcommitment)

    Memory overcommit (or overcommitment) is a hypervisor feature that allows a virtual machine (VM) to use more memory space than the physical host has available.

  • memory paging

    Memory paging is a memory management technique for controlling how a computer's memory resources are shared.

  • Microsoft Hyper-V Best Practices Analyzer

    Microsoft Hyper-V Best Practices Analyzer is a server management tool that scans server configurations and generates a report that identifies best practice violations.

  • Microsoft Hyper-V Dynamic Memory

    Dynamic Memory is a memory allocation feature for Microsoft Hyper-V.  

  • Microsoft Hyper-V Integration Services

    Hyper-V Integration Services is a suite of utilities in Microsoft Hyper-V, designed to enhance the performance of the virtual machine's guest operating system. It optimizes the drivers of the virtual environments to provide the best experience.

  • Microsoft Hyper-V NIC teaming

    Microsoft Hyper-V NIC teaming is the process of grouping multiple virtual network interface cards (NICs) across different physical NICs to increase bandwidth and provide redundancy.

  • Microsoft Hyper-V Quick Migration

    Hyper-V Quick Migration is a feature available in Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 that allows users to move running virtual machines (VMs) from one host to another with minimal downtime.

  • Microsoft System Center Orchestrator

    Microsoft System Center Orchestrator is a workflow automation software product introduced as part of the Microsoft System Center 2012 suite.

  • Microsoft TechNet

    Microsoft TechNet is an online resource site that offers IT professionals free access to learning content and discussion forums.

  • Microsoft Virtual Server

    Microsoft Virtual Server is a scalable server virtualization program distributed by Microsoft that enables multiple operating systems (OS) to run on a single physical server... (Continued)

  • Microsoft Windows Management Framework (WMF)

    Microsoft Windows Management Framework (WMF) is a driver that that allows the machine to read/use new updates on software.

  • Microsoft Windows PowerShell Web Access (Windows PWA)

    Microsoft Windows PowerShell Web Access (PWA) is a feature in Windows Server 2012 that acts as a Windows PowerShell gateway to connect to a remote computer or device in your environment, providing a PowerShell console-like screen in a browser to run cmdlets or scripts to manage a virtualization environment.

  • Mirror Mode (VMware Mirror Mode)

    Mirror Mode is a virtual machine backup feature for VMware vSphere 5.0.

  • N

    nested virtualization

    Nested virtualization describes the process of running a hypervisor within another hypervisor.

  • Network Load Balancing (NLB)

    Network Load Balancing is a Windows Server feature that can distribute network traffic among multiple servers.

  • network virtualization

    Network virtualization is a method of combining the available resources in a network to consolidate multiple physical networks, divide a network into segments or create software networks between virtual machines (VMs).

  • NTBackup (Microsoft Windows NT backup)

    NTBackup is a built-in backup application introduced with Microsoft Windows NT.

  • O

    OpenStack Foundation

    The OpenStack Foundation manages and oversees the development of the OpenStack open source cloud platform.

  • Our Favorite Technology Blogs

    A comprehensive listing of information technology-related blogs selected by the editors of WhatIs.com that cover selected industry verticals and technologies.

  • oVirt

    OVirt is an open source data center virtualization platform developed and promoted by Red Hat.

  • P

    Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM)

    Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM) is a program that enables distributed computing among networked computers on different platforms, so that they can perform as a single, large unit for computer-intensive applications... (Continued)

  • paravirtualization

    Paravirtualization (PV) is an enhancement of virtualization technology in which a guest operating system (guest OS) is modified prior to installation inside a virtual machine in order to allow all guest OS within the system to share resources and successfully collaborate, rather than attempt to emulate an entire hardware environment.

  • parent partition

    A parent partition is a logical hard drive division in the Microsoft Hyper-V environment that's responsible for running the hypervisor layer and creating and managing child partitions.

  • physical block device (PBD)

    In a Citrix XenServer, a physical block device (PBD) is a connector object that represents the interface between a physical host and an attached storage repository.

  • physical to virtual (P2V)

    Physical to virtual (P2V) is a term that refers to the migration of an operating system (OS), application programs and data from a computer's main hard disk to a virtual machine.

  • PlateSpin

    PlateSpin is a company that provides tools to help with server virtualization, including physical-to-virtual migrations and server workload management. 

  • platform

    A computer platform is an underlying computer system on which application programs can run, or, in general, any base of technologies on which other technologies or processes are built.

  • PowerPC

    PowerPC is a microprocessor architecture that was developed jointly by Apple, IBM, and Motorola.

  • R

    Red Hat Storage (RHS)

    Red Hat Storage is a new distributed file system based on the Gluster file system.

  • Red Hat Virtualization (RHV)

    Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) is an enterprise-class virtualization platform produced by Red Hat.

  • RHCVA (Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator)

    The Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator (RHCVA) is a certification exam from Red Hat, Inc.

  • root partition

    A root partition is the isolated area in a Microsoft Hyper-V environment where the hypervisor runs. The root partition is the first one created; it runs the hypervisor and can access devices and memory directly.

  • S

    server hardware degradation

    Server hardware degradation is the gradual breakdown of the physical parts of a server.

  • server virtualization

    Server virtualization is a process that creates and abstracts multiple virtual instances on a single server.

  • service discovery

    Service discovery is the automatic detection of devices and offered services over a network that is used to minimize configuration efforts for administrators.

  • service virtualization

    Service virtualization is the process of creating replicas of systems that new applications depend on to test how well the application and systems integrate.

  • shared nothing live migration

    Shared nothing live migration is a term used to describe the process of moving a virtual machine (VM) from one physical host to another, without the need for clustering or a common shared storage location.

  • smart paging

    Smart paging is an advanced version of memory paging in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, where a virtual machine is capable of temporarily using hard disk space to supplement shortages of solid-state memory.

  • SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) 

    SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) is a 32- and 64-bit microprocessor architecture from Sun Microsystems that is based on reduced instruction set computing (RISC).

  • SplitRX Mode

    SplitRX Mode is a VMware vSphere feature that can improve network performance for some multicast workloads.

  • STONITH (Shoot The Other Node In The Head)

    STONITH (Shoot The Other Node In The Head) is a Linux service for maintaining the integrity of nodes in a high-availability (HA) cluster. 

  • storage pools

    Storage pools are capacity aggregated from disparate physical storage resources in a shared storage environment.

  • stretched cluster

    A stretched cluster is a deployment model in which two or more virtualization host servers are part of the same logical cluster but located in separate geographical locations.

  • T

    thin hypervisor

    A thin hypervisor is a stripped down hypervisor that allows multiple operating systems to run on one host.

  • transparent page sharing

    Transparent page sharing (TPS) is a memory management technology in virtualization.

  • Type 2 hypervisor (hosted hypervisor)

    A Type 2 hypervisor, also known as a hosted hypervisor, is a virtual machine manager that installs on top of a host's operating system (OS). 

  • V

    virtual

    In computing, virtual is a digitally replicated version of something real. The replication, which is created with software, may not be an exact copy of the real thing, but it is similar enough in essence to be described as a digital rendition.

  • virtual appliance

    A virtual appliance is a virtual machine image file consisting of a pre-configured operating system environment and a single application. The purpose of a virtual appliance is to simplify delivery and operation of an application. To this end, only necessary operating system components are included.

  • virtual file system (VFS)

    A virtual file system (VFS) is programming that forms an interface between an operating system's kernel and a more concrete file system. 

  • virtual hard drive

    A virtual hard drive file is a container file that acts similar to a physical hard drive.

  • virtual machine (VM)

    A virtual machine (VM) is a software computer that, like a physical computer, runs an operating system and applications.

  • Virtual Machine Management Service

    Virtual Machine Management Service, also known as VMMS or vmms.exe, is the main module in Microsoft Windows operating system that controls all aspects of Hyper-V server virtualization.

  • virtual memory ballooning

    Virtual memory ballooning allows a physical host to recapture unused memory on its guest virtual machines and allocate the resource where needed.

  • virtual networking

    Virtual networking is a technology that facilitates the control of one or more remotely located computers or servers over the Internet... (Continued)

  • Virtual PC

    Virtual PC is a program that emulates Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, as well as IBM OS/2, or Linux on a Macintosh personal computer, assuming it's equipped with a sufficiently fast microprocessor.

  • virtual private server (VPS) or virtual dedicated server (VDS)

    A virtual private server (VPS), also called a virtual dedicated server (VDS), is a virtual server that appears to the user as a dedicated server, but that is actually installed on a computer serving multiple websites.

  • virtual storage appliance (VSA)

    A virtual storage appliance (VSA) is a storage controller that runs on a virtual machine(VM) to create shared storage without the cost of additional hardware. 

  • virtual switch

    A virtual switch is a software program that allows one virtual machine (VM) to communicate with another.

  • virtual to physical (V2P)

    Virtual to physical (V2P) is a term that refers to the migration of an operating system (OS), application programs and data from a virtual machine or disk partition to a computer's main hard disk... (Continued)

  • Virtual to virtual (V2V)

    Virtual to virtual (V2V) is a term that refers to the migration of an operating system (OS), application programs and data from a virtual machine or disk partition to another virtual machine or disk partition... (Continued)

  • virtualization

    Virtualization is the creation of a virtual -- rather than actual -- version of something, such as an operating system (OS), a server, a storage device or network resources.

  • virtualization administrator

    A virtualization administrator is an employee whose responsibilities include virtual environment set up and maintenance, in addition to traditional sysadmin duties.

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