Virtual Server Definition | Tintri

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Virtual Server

A virtual server is an independent system that uses its own operating system (OS), provisioning and software, but has the ability to share any of these and hardware. A VS offers greater speed and give admins better control of web-based applications, virtual servers reduce overhead for entities using dedicated servers, which cost more to implement and maintain. Essentially, the role of virtual servers is to imitate the functions of dedicated servers while reducing cost for Internet service providers (ISPs) and Web hosts.

Understanding virtualization: the virtual server’s home

To understand how and where a virtual server operates, you must first understand what virtualization is. Virtualization is the process of transitioning stored data files, folders, applications, software and other information from central processing units (CPUs) to virtual servers and cloud environments. Once the transition of all this data is complete, what you have is a virtualized replacement for hard disk drives (HDDs) and outdates operating systems (OSs). The replacement is entirely virtualized and offers faster input and output (I/O) than traditional HDD storage through virtual servers. The new virtualization also requires data abstraction—reducing complex data structures down to only their core components so they use less space and still function in their original form. This makes data more portable and therefore easier to use to create a virtual database within virtualized environments. Developers use data abstractions to create easily navigable frameworks other users can add to over time within a virtualized infrastructure living on the Internet and hosted by a virtual server.

Virtual servers aren’t virtual machines (VMs), they are virtualized environments

There are many business owners, managers, and other personnel running large enterprises laboring under the misconception that virtual machines and virtual servers are the same thing. In fact, a virtual machine is a “guest,” if you will, with its own operating system (OS), which requires management from a hypervisor to function properly, usually within an all-flash array (AFA). On the other hand, a virtual server is something of a guest as well—however, it functions as a server and runs within a virtualized environment on the Internet. Virtual servers share software, hardware, and other resources with other OSs, making them more efficient, less expensive and best suited to share control and data within a virtualized environment on the Internet.

Administration, sharing and saving of varying iterations of the same data

The virtual sharing and concomitant administration of files, data, coding, and software allows teams on different machines in different parts of the world to work on projects in unison without overwriting one another. Unless otherwise specified by the person who built the virtual server, every person who has access to it also has the ability to control and alter anything within the virtual server. However, in the event of an erroneous programming sequence, all iterations of files, folders, software, applications, webpages, and other information are all saved within the virtual server for safekeeping and retrieval as needed.

Other uses: virtualized activities beyond building or hosting websites

Having a virtual server is useful for much more than web hosting or building a website, which is what it is most commonly associated with. Virtual servers allow users with access to create individual domain names and unique Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. If provisioned for everyone to have all the same privileges, every user can create email addresses that point back to the “mother” domain. Users can also create and administer file directories under their username so that only the person with those credentials can see or use the directories, email addresses, or domains. Most useful to programmers is the virtual server’s ability to point numerous domain names back to a single or universally agreed-upon URL without the need for ISP involvement. Users within virtualized spaces create and manage usernames, passwords, web logs, analytics, and get into many other specifics for hosting, designing, and maintaining domains and resources for a specific company or group. Because virtual servers don't need hardware dedicated servers require, they’re far more affordable for numerous web activities, allowing users to plan, develop, and deploy in a cheap, easily-accessed virtualized environment.

Affordably publishing information for anyone’s eyes

Outside of web hosting, building websites and programming, which all goes behind the scenes of any site, the most prevalent use of virtual servers is to publish information (or disinformation) as an individual without the need to buy any hardware or software.

Solo users of virtual servers often use them to publish stories, news updates and other information they feel is timely and important for people to see. While this can be an excellent way to share information on the Internet, it can be a dangerous tool in the wrong hands. Because it’s so affordable, no one using a virtual server has to spend a fortune to have access to one.

How a server is virtualized

By using data abstraction, building a virtualized database and framework and using web services, you can use applications managed by hypervisors to virtualize a server. This allows you to move data from traditional storage like servers to a new virtual infrastructure as large and agile as private enterprise cloud with everything you need to run your business. By doing this, you avoid having to use or reconfigure the outmoded LUNs and volumes that HDDs and servers use, which are not autonomous, isolated, or automated like applications and volumes are. When you’re working on applications and containers, you’ll experience tremendous speed for spinning up and tearing down applications—because applications and containers are the currency of cloud. To understand more about how you can virtualize a server and create virtualized databases and servers, check out Tintri’s all-flash storage systems for virtualized applications and more.