Virtualization in the Factory
Virtualization, which in recent years has taken increasingly important steps, has become the model of integration and management of systems with the most promising evolution. Virtualization also means rationalizing the use of a network, of a data storage resource, of software.
The concept of virtualization describes a technology that is abstracted from the physical component, the hardware, often used only partially in daily operations, using software that emulates its operation, making the process totally transparent to both the operating system and the end user. It is therefore a strategy that guarantees great flexibility, since it allows you to isolate parts of hardware, dedicating them specifically to certain functions and effectively eliminating the dependence on a specific platform. A flexibility that then allows its extension to the most diverse contexts.
The Promising Future of Data Virtualization
It is estimated that the world data virtualization market will be around 9.07 billion dollars by 2026, whereas in 2018 the American market was driving the global growth trend with 36.1%, followed by Europeans with a market share of 26.1%. The Asia and Pacific region will see the most significant growth in the estimated period, with +24%, driven by the constant growth of consumers, and the financial, banking and IT sectors with the ever increasing production of data. In the region, China, Japan and India will play the leading roles.
Virtualization: A Solution for Every Context
Let’s go into detail on the main types of virtualization that range, as mentioned, in the most diverse directions but can be summarized in 6 macro areas:
1. With the aforementioned Data Virtualization, visualization, processing, integration and collection systems make it possible to make data sources an indispensable tool for the development of strategies ranging from business to optimized management of industrial plants.
2. In Server Virtualization, the resources of which the server is made up (ID, operating system, processor), are made invisible to external users, simplifying use and facilitating the sharing of network resources between non-professional users, without losing the possibility of extending the features, and later features, using virtual machines. There are two macro categories of software capable of virtualizing machines (VMs): KVM, Type 1, Linux Kernel-based virtualization, released in open source and Type 2, which requires the software to be installed locally and sees a use more linked to the world of research and testing.
3. Storage Virtualization is the grouping of multiple disk space into what appears to the end-user as a single space, available to him/her with a centralized control system. A solution that guarantees rationalization of disk space, particularly useful for data storage management.
4. Benefits of Network Virtualization: the available bandwidth availability is divided into different channels, independent from each other, so they can be assigned to different servers or devices, with advantages in terms of complexity reduction and traffic management.
5. Desktop Virtualization has entered everyday life with the spread of office automation stations, but also remotely accessible servers, following the nomadic trend of work and the increasing spread of smart working. A solution that guarantees the availability of always updated software and a higher level of IT security. Please check some smart factory case studies here.
6. Application Virtualization, which users now use on any type of device, is a solution that encapsulates different software, based on different operating systems, using the operating system in use on the device. The applications are therefore executed in all respects, however, not being installed in the traditional sense and certainly represent a striking example of virtualization.
About the Author
Antonio Conati Barbaro, COO, Alleantia. Looking to the ‘next big thing’, Internet of Things, since 2006, Antonio jumped at the Alleantia IIoT opportunity, joining founder Stefano Linari in the company launch and growth since 2011.