Virtualization (or virtualisation), in computing, is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, such as a hardware platform, operating system, storage device, or network resources.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtualization
Is virtualization the future of IT? Well I think from a server management point of view, it is. Apart from a few physical severs, where I work, the majority of servers are virtualized at our head office. This has many advantages.
Once such scenario I faced yesterday was when a hard drive on our file server reached capacity. This was brought to my attention when users were no longer able save data to the shared drive.
This was caused by a data share, which was a replication from another remote site, that had dramatically increased in size in the last few days. Which was a flow on effect from data being transferred over from an old never, to a new server on that remote site. Once that data had been replicated back to our head office, the hard drive that held both the replicated data share and the local data share, had reached capacity.
Now if this had of been a physical hard drive, we would of had to replace and upgrade it, or move the offending data share to another hard drive or server. But because this was a virtual sever (running MS Windows Sever 2008 R2) connected to a SAN (Storage Area Network), we (ie: myself with the assistance of my boss / mentor) were able to increase the capacity of the (virtual) hard drive. We did this by logging into the command view of our SAN and increasing the capacity of the LUN (Logical Unit Number) that corresponded to the hard drive on the server. Once this was done, we were then able to increase the capacity on the server itself (via Disk Management in Sever Management).
The above example is probably more of an advantage of a SAN, than just purely virtualization. For example if the above sever was physical, rather than virtual, you could overcome this issue if that too was connected to the SAN.
There are many more examples and advantages of Virtualization. I will attempt to document these as I continue on my journey as the Bureaucrat Of Linkage....