The State of IT before Virtual Machines

In this video we will discuss the state of Information Technology before Virtual Machines came into existence.

You name any business or industry (Airlines, tourism, hotels, software, hardware, manufacturing). It is the applications that power and run these businesses. It' almost impossible for a business to withstand the pressure and competition and thereby sustain in the market without a reliant, performant and a scalable application. So, the fact is, it is the applications that power and run businesses.

why use virtual machines

As far as an application for a business is concerned, there are 2 main aspects.

  • Desiging and developing the business application itself, and then
  • Hosting this application on a server to make it available for business.

Let's discuss what we use to do in the past, prior to the technologies like virtual machines and containers came into existence. We will discuss, what virtual machines and containers are, and the problems they solve in our next video.

In the past, to host an application, a business needs to procure a physical server, but the question is, how big and fast the server has to be. It's not easy to speculate the demand for the application. So to be on the safe side, businesses procure a high end server which obviously costs a lot of money. 

In addition to this initial capital expense, i.e the cost of the physical server, we also have monthly recurring operating expenses like energy costs (both for power and cooling), hire workforce to maintain the server. Don't forget the operating license, we have to pay for that as well. In many cases only a fraction of the server capacity is used, which means obviously a lot of company money is wasted.

why we use virtualization in cloud computing

We have a physical server. On top of that we install the operating system and on top of that we install our business application. At this point we have our application up and running and users are able to use it.

Now, let's say we are launching a new product or starting another line of business and obviously this means we need another application. So, this means we need to procure another physical server and another license for the operating system, and on top of that we install our second business application. Keep in mind, in addition to the cost of this second physical server, we also have recurring operating expenses.

why do companies use virtual machines

At this point, you might be wondering, can't we install this new application on our existing physical server, because the first application is only using a fraction of the server capacity anyway. Well, in most cases, we can't. This may be because this new application has different dependencies than the first application. May be it needs a differnt version of the framework installed. May be it needs a different operating system altogether. May be both applications need access to the same resources or devices which obviously results in resource conflicts.

what problems does virtualization solve

One way to solve this problem is to buy another physical server. So in the past, there is a one to one mapping between an application and a physical server. Everytime we need a new business application we end up buying a new physical server and keep in mind these applications are using only a fraction of the server capacity. What a waste of company money. You can see, how quickly this can become unwieldy and very expensive for the organisations. This is the model we had until virtualization came into existence.

In our next video, we will discuss what virtual machines and containers are, and the problems they solve.

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