In computing, virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of an entity, such as a hardware platform, Operating System (OS), storage device, or network resources.

Virtualization can be viewed as part of an overall trend in enterprise IT that includes autonomous computing, a scenario in which the IT environment will be able to manage itself based on perceived activity, and utility computing, in which computer processing power is seen as a utility that clients can pay for only as needed. The usual goal of virtualization is to centralize administrative tasks while improving scalability and overall hardware-resource utilization.

An often overlooked issue with virtualization is the complexities of licensing. For example, an HPC cluster running a Linux OS attempting to offer a virtualized ANSYS multi-domain physics server must still satisfy licensing requirements, especially for the many Windows clients attached. Therefore the benefits of on-demand virtualization and flexibility of virtualization is hampered by closed-source, proprietary systems.

Peer Technologies offers services for multicore server and parallel storage virtualization in LAN and SAN environments, Cisco VFrame, VMware and EMC². Backup and parallel HSM solutions are available for use with heavy duty engineering codes, like the ANSYS Engineering Knowledge Management (EKM) database.


Challenges with Server Virtualization in Engineering (Courtesy of Hewlett Packard)