Pepperl+Fuchs Blog

What is Virtualization and Why Should Your Company Virtualize?

Posted by Andy LaMar on Thu, Nov 07, 2013

It’s no secret that in today’s business world, we must be willing to use the latest technology if we want to maximize our growth potential and stay ahead of the competition. One such promising technology is virtualization.

You may have heard the term before, but you may not know what exactly virtualization is or the benefits it provides. And that’s why I am going to share a brief overview of this innovative technology that we here at Pepperl+Fuchs believe in.  

Virtualization gives you the ability to store all of your software and data on a single server outside of a hazardous area even when this server is connected to a thin client or group of thin clients that can be located inside a hazardous area. If a thin client in the hazardous area is damaged, your information is still secure and you can easily replace the damaged thin client. The illustration below shows a virtualized hardware system in which one thin client is outside the network, two thin clients are in good working condition inside the network, and another thin client is damaged with no adverse effect on the information it has gathered.

What is virtualization?For engineers who interface to virtualized systems in order to accomplish tasks such as analyzing data or responding to process alerts, it’s vital that the information they rely on is secure. That is why, on the plant floor and in process areas, as well as in operator interface applications, the best solution is often a thin client connected to one or more virtualized systems. A thin client is much more cost effective than a PC, due to the lower cost of hardware and the lower computing requirements of the thin client. Generally, less hardware at a lower cost is what fuels the migration to virtualization.

It’s also important to keep in mind the life cycle of a PC compared to a thin client. PC technology is dynamic with new developments coming quickly, while operating systems and client software are much less fluid. Users are faced with performing costly hardware and operating system upgrades and revisions, or running the risk of sticking with unsupported and obsolete components and systems. This is why companies struggle with the life cycle of their PC hardware and software, and is just another reason why virtualization may be right for your company.

To recap, here are some of the key benefits of using a virtualized solution paired with a thin client:

  • Increased security and reliability
  • Longer hardware lifecycle
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Workspace mobility
  • Lower energy consumption
  • Fewer PCs required
Questions on Virtualization?  Download our White Paper

Topics: Terminology, Industrial Monitors/ HMI, Software

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