The servers deployed by many IT firms are often not utilizing their capacity since the physical server is dedicated to a specific application. This means that excess capacity available is not consumed resulting in increased operating and IT costs. To overcome these inefficiencies, it is important to understand what virtualization is and how to enable virtualization. 

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What Is Virtualization?

Virtualization is the technology that creates virtual versions of various resources such as the operating system, server, storage etc. thus allowing software to replicate hardware functionality and resulting in the creation of a virtual system independent from the hardware. It is akin to multiple operating systems running concurrently on a single computer system. Multiple Virtual Machines (VMs) or virtual computers are formed by dividing the hardware resources such as processors, servers, storage, etc. The hypervisor is a thin layer of software that separates the VMs from the host and interactively allocates resources as needed by the VM. For the applications that run on the VMs, the virtualized or guest system seems to have its dedicated resources with distinct operating systems, libraries, and programs independent of the host system.

Multiple users and applications with different requirements can use the server since virtualization provides flexibility to break down a complex system into smaller pieces. It is a common practice in enterprise IT architecture and it is the technology that facilitates cloud computing economics by allowing different users to share the infrastructure.

System Requirements

Hardware Virtualization System Requirements

  • Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise
  • 64-bit processor with Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)
  • 4GB system RAM (minimum)
  • BIOS-level Hardware Virtualization support

Why Should You Enable Virtualization?

Virtualization can increase scalability while reducing costs. Some of the benefits that enabling virtualization can bring to an organization are:

  • Cost Savings – When you enable virtualization, a single physical server is replaced by multiple virtual machines thereby reducing idle compute time and promoting optimum utilization of resources. Personnel time to manage can be alleviated through improved server utilization. By enabling virtualization, organizations facing resource crunch can do away with multiple servers. 
  • Downtime Reduction and Flexibility during Disaster Recovery – When a physical server is affected, replacement or repair is often time-consuming. With virtualization, the virtual machine can be cloned or replicated, significantly speeding up the recovery process and enhancing business continuity.  
  • Improved Productivity and Efficiency – Given the nature of the virtual environment, virtual machines are easier to install, maintain and update. Hardware maintenance and monitoring efforts can be reduced drastically since the same updates are not required on each server separately. Thus, improving utilizing the IT team effectively. 
  • Development and Testing – Simulation of virtual machines helps the developer to run tests without altering the production environment. Software updates can be rolled out faster since the environment offers agility for development & testing.
  • Enhanced Security – Since virtual servers are isolated, security is more adaptive in such an environment protecting the virtual machines from malware and vicious attacks as they move from one host to another.

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How to Enable Virtualization in Windows 10/11?

To enable Virtualization in Windows 10/11, ensure that the device supports virtualization by checking the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) or UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) firmware settings as follows:

Method 1:

Through Command Prompt

  1. Run command prompt
  2. Enter the command systeminfo.exe
  3. The command will gather system information and display the result
  4. Check Hyper -V Requirements
  5. If Virtualization Enabled in Firmware shows Yes, Windows Sandbox can be used.

Enable_Virtualization_1

Method 2:

Check the Performance Tab of the Task Manager

Enable_Virtualization_2

If Virtualization is Disabled, follow these steps to enable it in BIOS or UEFI settings.

How to Enable Virtualization in BIOS?

  1. Reboot the computer
  2. While the system is restarting from a black screen, enter BIOS by pressing the hotkey. The hotkeys differ depending on the brand of the computer used. Usually F1, F2, F3, F10, Esc or Delete keys are the hotkeys to enter BIOS
  3. Navigate to Advanced Tab and press Enter to continue
  4. Select Virtualization and Enable
  5. Save changes and reboot the computer
  6. BIOS can also be accessed through Windows in Settings.

How to Enable Virtualization Windows 10?

1. Go to Windows Settings

2. Click on Update and Security

Enable_Virtualization_3

3. Click on Restart Now from the Recovery Tab to enter Windows Recovery Environment

Enable_Virtualization_4

4. Click Troubleshoot > Advanced > UEFI Firmware Settings.

5. To continue, click Restart

6. BIOS Settings will be displayed. Select Virtualization and enable it

How to Enable Virtualization without BIOS?

To enable Virtualization without opening BIOS, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Security tab and press Enter on CPU Setup
  2. Select Intel(R) Virtualization Technology and press Enter
  3. Choose Enable and press Enter
  4. Press F10
  5. Press Enter to select Yes to save the settings and Boot into Windows

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Uses of Virtualization

  1. Virtualization provides a cost-effective way to decouple email, database, and web servers resulting in an inclusive and reliable system
  2. Key components such as file systems and disk drivers can be developed using virtualization without compromising stability
  3. Data Virtualization involves separating the database layer that is located between the storage and application layers within the overall application stack. The data remains in source systems and can be consumed through an integrated view
  4. It is possible to deploy virtual machines from the data center to build a cloud-based infrastructure. Migration to the cloud becomes easier through virtualization
  5. Virtualization reduces hardware dependence. There is no downtime since virtual machines can be migrated from one hardware to another

FAQs

1. What is Virtualization?

Virtualization is the creation of a virtual version of an operating system, server, storage device, or network resource.

2. List the different types of Virtualization.

  1. Application Virtualization
  2. Hardware virtualization
  3. Desktop Virtualization
  4. Network Virtualization
  5. Server Virtualization
  6. Storage Virtualization

3. What are the benefits of Virtualization?

  1. Cost Reduction
  2. Multiple systems can be installed on a single platform
  3. Reduces space involved in installing data centers
  4. Reduced dependency on hardware for running complex applications

4. Name the components of VM infrastructure.

  1. Database
  2. Web browser
  3. License Server
  4. Virtual Centre Server
  5. Virtual Infrastructure (VI) Client
  6. ESX Server Host

5. How are containers different from virtual machines?

Although containers and virtual machines are similar resources, the key difference between the two is that virtual machines virtualize a system completely including the hardware layers whereas containers virtualize software layers above the operating system level.

6. What is Hypervisor?

The hypervisor, also known as Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM), is the software used to create and run virtual machines (VMs). It allows the host computer to share its resources such as memory and processing to support guest VMs.

7. What are the types of Hypervisors?

  1. Type 1 or Bare metal is a lightweight hypervisor that runs directly on the host’s hardware
  2. Type 2 or Hosted Hypervisor that runs as a software layer on an operating system similar to other computer programs

8. What is QEMU?

QEMU is a free and open-source machine emulator that can run programs and operating systems for one machine on another.

9. What is Docker?

Docker is an open-source virtualization software that helps in developing and running applications. The application is isolated from the host infrastructure by Docker. Docker contains all dependencies i.e. libraries, and frameworks to run the application efficiently. 

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Conclusion

In this article, you learnt the different methods in which you can enable virtualization. Virtualization can help you to deploy virtual machines from the data center to build a secure cloud-based infrastructure. If you would like to explore these concepts in detail, do check out our Post Graduate Program in DevOps. This course is developed in collaboration with Caltech CTME and can help you establish your career in the field of DevOps.

If you have any questions or queries regarding this article, feel free to add drop them in the comments section below. Our team will get back to you at the earliest.

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