Saturday, March 20, 2010

Virtualization and Cloud Computing

Have you heard of the term "virtualization software" used in the context of health IT? I'm sure you've heard of cloud computing. Some experts have said that virtualization unlocks cloud computing. Many people still have misconceptions about cloud computing and may even confuse this phrase with virtualization. Grid computing (a form of distributed computing and parallel computing, whereby a 'super and virtual computer' is composed of a cluster of networked, loosely coupled computers acting in concert to perform very large tasks) deals with virtual machines.

If you're confused about virtualization, maybe you need to exploring some VMware training options.  If you're taking a course on medical informatics, maybe you've encountered some examples of cloud computing, virtualization, etc. Well, let's talk about virtualization today and let's start with a definition according to Wikipedia:
Virtualization is a term that refers to the abstraction of computer resources:
You've probably heard of the phrase "virtual machine" or VM.
Virtual machine (VM), a software implementation of a machine (computer) that executes programs like a real machine. 
So, what's the difference between something that's virtual vs. something that's real? Maybe it would help by looking at a specific example called VMware. You've probably heard of this company, but in case you haven't, here's a snippet from Wikipedia:
VMware software provides a completely virtualized set of hardware to the guest operating system. VMware software virtualizes the hardware for a video adapter, a network adapter, and hard disk adapters. The host provides pass-through drivers for guest USB, serial, and parallel devices. In this way, VMware virtual machines become highly portable between computers, because every host looks nearly identical to the guest. In practice, a system administrator can pause operations on a virtual machine guest, move or copy that guest to another physical computer, and there resume execution exactly at the point of suspension. Alternately, for enterprise servers, a feature called VMotion allows the migration of operational guest virtual machines between similar but separate hardware hosts sharing the same storage. Each of these transitions is completely transparent to any users on the virtual machine at the time it is being migrated.
IT professionals who don't have a significant amount of experience with virtualization software are often looking for VMware training videos from companies like Train Signal (a provider of VMware training solutions). As cloud computing and virtualization get integrated into health IT systems, it will be very important for IT professionals to be trained in these areas.

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