Virtualized Infrastructure Takes Hold in Pharma Process Automation
May 02, 2015
By Matthew Daniels , Michael Kalvaitis 
Volume 39, Issue 5
Virtualization has been mainstream in information technology (IT) for decades. One of IT’s biggest challenges is “infrastructure crawl,” caused by servers that, by design, run one operating system and one application at a time, requiring many servers to meet the needs of complex organizations. These single-application servers typically use only a fraction of what the physical server can provide, wasting computing resources across the organization.
Virtualization, however, operates on the principal that more than one operating system and application can utilize the same physical hardware or server host. This approach reduces the physical, power, and cooling footprint required to run an application.
In a traditional computer infrastructure, each physical machine has one operating system running one or more applications and requires labor and expertise to install, maintain, and upgrade. Validation and qualification efforts increase the cost burden. Upgrades in single-server application relationships increase unplanned downtimes.
Virtualized environments (Figure 1) offer multiple virtual machine (VM) servers running on a single hardware server simultaneously. A hypervisor, computer software and firmware, runs VMs while managing physical resources on the host (central processing unit, memory, and network resource). VM host servers maximize resource utilization, because resources are handled and scheduled through the hypervisor.