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Best practices in implementing virtualization

This guide to virtualization implementation best practices helps managers make the most of OS, application and server virtualization as put forth in this sample chapter from "The Shortcut Guide to Selecting the Right Virtualization Solution" by Greg Shields.

This tip is excerpted from "Best practices in implementing virtualization," Chapter 3 of The Shortcut Guide to Selecting the Right Virtualization Solution, written by Greg Shields and published by You can read the entire e-book for free at the link above.


Purchasing a virtualization solution is only the first step. Properly implementing it is critical to gaining the greatest return on virtualization. So far in this guide, we've run through a comparison of virtualization architectures and aligned products with each architecture. For organizations looking to finding the best-fitting—right—virtualization solution, it is necessary to know the field of entrants. As both previous chapters explored, there are multiple types of virtualization architecture, each of which is served by a dominant product.

Chapter 1 focused heavily on the specific architectures being used in today's computing environments. The chapter talked about how hardware virtualization abstracts computers at the layer of their physical hardware, virtualizing their memory, processors, disks, and network cards. The chapter showed how hardware virtualization solutions scale individual computers horizontally atop a hypervisor layer. We contrasted that architecture with the idea of OS virtualization. In OS virtualization, we move the layer of abstraction to within the operating system (OS) itself. We showed that for certain configurations, OS virtualization provides an enhanced benefit over hardware virtualization due to its near-native speeds in homogeneous environments. We also compared and contrasted these two architectures with those of paravirtualization and application virtualization.

More on virtualization
Q&A with Greg Shields

In Chapter 2, we moved away from architectures to talk about specific products. We looked at the feature sets associated with individual virtualization products and analyzed four popular products currently available in the market:

  • VMware ESX and Virtual Infrastructure and Microsoft Virtual Server, both of which are excellent examples of Hardware Virtualization.
  • Xen and specifically the Citrix XenSource distribution, which is the most prevalent manifestation of the Paravirtualization architecture currently being used.
  • Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, a product that uses OS Virtualization to abstract virtual environments (also called Containers) as linked components of the virtual host.

Getting the right solution in-hand is only one step in the process. Understanding the ways in which that product will be implemented is critical to ensuring that the best solution is acquired. This chapter will attempt to explain some of the best practices for using all of these types of virtualization within your computing environment today.

Best practices in implementing virtualization

  Virtual environments are different than physical environments
  Potential usage scenarios and best practices
  Obtaining maximum return on virtualization
  Best practices in systems automation

About the author: Greg Shields is an independent writer, speaker and IT consultant based in Denver. With more than 10 years of experience in information technology, Greg has developed extensive experience in systems administration, engineering and architecture, specializing in Microsoft, Citrix and VMware technologies. He is a contributing editor for both Redmond magazine and Microsoft Certified Professional magazine, authoring two regular columns along with numerous feature articles, webcasts and white papers. He is also a highly sought-after instructor and speaker, teaching system and network troubleshooting curricula for TechMentor Events, a twice-annual IT conference, and producing computer-based training curriculum for CBT Nuggets on numerous topics. Greg is a triple Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) with security specialization and a Certified Citrix Enterprise Administrator (CCEA). He is also the leader of the Realtime Windows Server Community.

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