Technology Specific Virtualization Terminology

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IT professionals should strive to learn the proper meanings of terms used in the IT virtualization vocabulary and ensure that they and their colleagues share the same definitions. It is mainly vendor-agnostic, but here are some vendor-specific terms, product names, and feature names used by VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft.

VMware-Specific Definitions

  1. VMware vSphere A suite of products that provide reliable virtual infrastructure suitable for business-critical applications.
  2. VMware VMotion A feature of VMware vSphere that provides live VM migrations from host to host.
  3. VMware Storage VMotion A feature of VMware vSphere that provides live VM migrations from datastore to datastore.
  4. VMware vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) A feature in vSphere that provides automated resource control. Its main function is to provide automatic load-balancing based on CPU and RAM usage in a cluster of ESXi hosts by utilizing VMotion.
  5. VMware vSphere Storage DRS A feature in VMware vSphere that provides automated storage resource control. Its main function is to provide automatic balancing of disk space utilization within a cluster of datastores by utilizing Storage VMotion. It can also be used to automatically balance the I/Os in a cluster of datastores.
  6. vSphere High Availability (HA) – A feature of vSphere that provides automatic VM high availability against potential ESXi host failures. Whenever an ESXi host in a cluster fails, vSphere HA restarts the failed VMs on surviving ESXi hosts in the cluster.
  7. VMware Tools A software application that should be installed in VMware-based VMs. It provides the latest virtual device drivers. It also runs paravirtualized services that communicate to the ESXi host to allow features such as time synchronization and heart beats.
  8. VMware VMFS (Virtual Machine Files System) A file system designed to efficiently allow shared access from multiple ESXi servers, while supporting very large files. A VMFS datastore is a disk partition formatted with VMFS or a set of VMFS-formatted partitions (VMFS Extents) that are spanned to form a single VMFS. VMFS datastores are typically used to store VMs that run on VMware ESXi.

Citrix-Specific Definitions

  1. Citrix XenServer A product that provides reliable virtual infrastructure suitable for business-critical applications.
  2. Citrix XenDesktop A suite of applications that provides virtual desktops.
  3. Citrix XenApp –Allows multiple users to share a single desktop remotely.
  4. Citrix XenMotion A feature of Citrix XenServer that provides live VM migrations from host to host.
  5. Citrix XenServer Storage Motion A feature of Citrix XenServer that provides live VM migrations from datastore to datastore.
  6. Citrix XenServer Tools A software application that should be installed in XenServer-based VMs. It provides the latest virtual devices drivers.

Microsoft-Specific Definitions

 

  1. Microsoft Hyper – A hypervisor in a Windows server that can run multiple Windows-based VMs.
  2. Quick Migration A feature of Microsoft Hyper-V that provides planned and unplanned migrations of VMs from host to host, requiring about 60 seconds of downtime. The VM is suspended during the migration.
  3. Live Migration A feature of Microsoft Hyper-V that provides live VM migrations from host to host, requiring no downtime.
  4. Quick Storage Migration A feature of Microsoft Hyper-V that provides migrations of VMs from datastore to datastore, requiring about 60 seconds of downtime. The VM is suspended during the migration.
  5. Storage Live Migration A feature of Microsoft Hyper-V that provides live VM migrations from datastore to datastore, requiring no downtime.

Reproduced from Global Knowledge White Paper: vTerminology: A Guide to Key Virtualization Terminology.

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