As data storage and utilization become more virtual, whole systems are now being migrated without the use of hard disks. The process is known as virtual migration. Virtual migration can take place either from a physical machine (a process known as P2V migration), or from one virtual platform to another (V2V migration).
This article will describe in detail how these processes take place, what steps to take to make them happen, and what you can do if you need assistance in the process.
What is a Virtual Machine and What is Virtualization?
A virtual machine is the virtualization of a computer system. What virtual machines do is simulate the architecture of computers in order to reproduce the same results without hardware. Virtualization, as the name suggests, is the shifting of data/servers/blocks from physical form to virtual form. The virtualization process could involve the use of both hardware and software. An excellent tool for carrying out the virtualization process is a V2V converter. V2V converters enable the conversion of physical machines into virtual ones, using different hypervisor servers.
The virtualization process runs on guest machines, or guest virtual machines. Guest virtual machines are the software utilized on a virtual machine, the virtual equivalent of software that would be used on a physical machine. The operating systems that guest virtual machines use to function are called guest OSes. The virtual machine, in turn, may or may not involve the use of a hypervisor, or a program to carry out its functions, and a host (which takes the place of the processors/networks that would enable a physical machine to function).
Hosted Virtualization Versus Bare-Metal Virtualization
Even within the realm of virtualization, there are different types of products that people utilize to undertake migration processes. There are two primary categories of virtualization that run on guest machines:
- Hosted virtualization – Hosted virtualization is a type of virtualization that runs on host OSes, or endpoint computers and hypervisors. Hosted virtualization is carried out when two or more virtual machines are called for, often involving different OSes. Hosted virtualization is preferable when multiple systems are being used because the hypervisors allow for greater flexibility in the process.
- Bare-metal virtualization, on the other hand, eliminates the need for the operating system by utilizing a tool that acts as a hypervisor and carries out processes directly on host hardware. Bare-metal hypervisors are also known as Type 1 hypervisors.
Types of VM migration – Cold and Hot
The first major type of VM migration is called “cold” migration. Cold migration takes place while a system is off. This type of migration is preferable for situations in which virtual data (or other OS parts) are being either re-registered or copied to a new place. When ESXi hosts (virtual representations of the computing resources of physical computers that utilize ESX, or Elastic Sky X servers) utilize different types of CPU architectures, they cannot undergo live migrations because of the incompatible nature of their architectures.
Another reason that cold migration might be preferable would be in cases in which there is concern about data loss or corruption during the migration process. If, for example, certain mail servers involve frequent updating of data, it would be advisable for the user to undertake a cold migration so that incoming data is not lost in the process. Once new data enters the system, it will appear when the machine is powered on.
If migration is taking place between hosts, it is not critical whether or not they belong to the same cluster as there shouldn’t be any potential compatibility issues at stake.
Hot migrations are conducted when systems being migrated are static and not subject to frequent change. It is also known as live migration. Hot migration is preferable, when possible, because the entire process takes only minutes to complete as it does not require any down time. Hot and cold migrations utilize different types of data and network types.
Things to Keep in Mind
As much as virtualizing your data will benefit you, there are a few things that you should be aware of as you manage your virtual sphere. First of all, VMs can be more complicated to manage than physical servers, so extra skills are required. Also, there are additional costs included in the virtualization platform. Clouds aren’t free, of course, and they are coveted spaces these days as everyone wants to go virtual. So this is something to make a note of.
In conclusion, your own virtualization process and V2V migration process will depend on your own personal (or business) requirements, what systems you utilize, the amount and frequency of your data transfer, and how important time and security are to you. You should think carefully about each aspect of the process and what method makes the most sense to you.
In the end, having completed these processes will make your computing life a lot easier, more streamlined, and more efficient. The world is moving quickly towards virtualizing data that is considered important; you shouldn’t let yourself or your business stay behind.