Chapter 8. Choosing Hardware for Your Server Virtualization Project

In This Chapter

  • Finding out why hardware is more important with virtualization

  • Understanding key hardware elements

  • Reusing existing hardware

  • Deciding between 32‐bit and 64‐bit hardware

  • Working with a new generation of virtualization‐ready servers

  • Anticipating future hardware improvements for virtualization

One of the clear benefits of virtualization as a technology is that it makes hardware use more efficient. By abstracting the relationship between the operating system and the underlying server hardware, virtualization enables multiple operating systems to operate on a single server, thereby more efficiently using the hardware.

Virtualization is particularly attractive today, given the increasing power of machines powered by commodity x86‐based chips from Intel and AMD. (The x86‐based part of the name comes from the fact that they're based on designs that descend from a chip whose name ended with 86; the commodity part stems from the fact that vast quantities of the chip are sold each year.) Every year or so, these companies deliver a new generation of chips that provides twice as much power as the previous generation. Instead of running the same old software on more and more powerful machines, virtualization ensures you can use more of the total capacity of the machines by increasing the overall software load on them.

The next question, of course, is exactly what hardware you should run your virtualization software on. ...

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