ETS: Virtualization

What is virtualization?

Virtualization is the method of using one piece of hardware, typically a powerful server, to behave like multiple devices – servers or desktop computers. Virtualization has been adopted as a mainstream strategy faster than anyone imagined. There are three areas of IT where virtualization is having a significant impact – servers, desktop computers, and networks.

illustration of virtualization

What are they?

Server virtualization is the process of using special software to allow one physical piece of hardware to function as multiple "virtual" servers. This allows IT departments to optimize the use and performance of servers while also saving space and energy in the data center.

Desktop virtualization also uses special software to allow a high-powered server to function as dozens or even hundreds of "virtual" desktop computers. Users access their virtual desktop using a browser on a traditional desktop or laptop or with a tablet, smartphone, or "thin client" computer. Virtual desktops allow users to access their applications and data from anywhere they have access to Internet connection.

Network virtualization is a method of combining the available resources in a network to manage the network more efficient and cost effectively. It allows the IT staff to reconfigure the network easily to meet the changing needs of an enterprise without having to redesign the hardware configuration of the network.

What is ETS doing about virtualization?

ETS has two major virtualization initiatives underway. The first one is to virtualize the data centers. This will consolidate approximately 140+ physical servers into one or two virtual server allowing the district to run the current data centers with less power and space. This project is scheduled to be completed spring of 2015.

ETS is also working on the desktop virtualization project, this project will start with piloting student labs and eventually will virtualize major portions of the student, faculty, and staff desktop environment.

What applications are currently running on a virtual system?

  1.  District email and calendar system.
  2.  District foundation web site, ETS web site.
    1.  Foundation web site: Click here
    2.  ETS web site: Click here