Virtual Server


A virtual server is located in the cloud or in an offsite data center and shares hardware and software resources with other virtual servers. Administrators can control the virtual server to maximize the processing power of the host system.

How to virtualize a server

To virtualize a physical server, a software application is added to the host system that divides server resources into multiple virtual servers. Each virtual server is isolated from any others on the same host and runs its own operating system (OS) with access to its memory, compute, and other resources.

Related HPE Solutions, Products, or Services

Why server virtualization?

Many servers in data centers are idling a majority of the time. This creates a crowded data center footprint and an unnecessary cost, as the hardware is not able to be fully utilized. Server virtualization allows an enterprise to more efficiently use the full processing power of its server infrastructure.

How do virtual servers work?

A virtual server functions just like a physical server, but the virtualization software allows its resources to be abstracted from the physical system. Each virtual server is able to run its own operating system, applications, and workloads without impacting other host system resources.

When a server is virtualized, the server’s capacity can be utilized at a higher rate with more efficiency. These capabilities increase productivity as users securely and efficiently access data. Virtualization also preserves IT resources, centralizes server management, and eliminates over-provisioning.

The three types of virtualization are full virtualization, para-virtualization, and OS-level virtualization.

Full virtualization utilizes hypervisors, which is a software layer that guides all communication between the physical server and the CPU. The main responsibility of the hypervisor is to manage the physical server’s capacity and direct traffic to virtual servers to run specific applications.

Para-virtualization incorporates the entire network of servers (both physical and virtual) to work together as one seamless unit. This type of virtualization manages OSs, only using the hypervisor for limited processing power.

OS-level virtualization does not require a hypervisor, as the host OS itself assumes the responsibilities of managing capacity. The only requirement for this type of virtualization is that all the virtual servers on the host must use the same OS.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to server virtualization?


  • Increased usable capacity is one of the main benefits to server virtualization, as capacity is no longer restricted to the available resources of a single server. When servers are not virtualized, there is exponentially lower processing power because workloads are distributed to only a small section of each server in the network. Resources are then wasted as servers are not fully engaged.
  • Reduced costs of operation are seen almost immediately after virtualization occurs; as servers multiply and capacity increases, fewer machines are needed for more workloads. This promotes operational efficiency and boosts growth.
  • Workloads are assigned efficiently, with tasks dispersed immediately across the virtual network as the virtual servers intake tasks. Each virtual server acts as its own independent server, allowing it to process data and run applications with ease on its independent operating system.
  • Application performance is improved due to virtualization. Virtualized servers allow for applications to be run independently on each OS, enabling quicker and more efficient performance.
  • IT infrastructure provides a framework for web hosting services, which saves time and money and capitalizes on existing resources. IT also benefits from more efficient workload processing.


  • Software behavior varies in a virtualized setting depending on hardware resources. This can present significant challenges when setting up capacity planning and resource requirements.
  • New management tools may be required, which can also be a disadvantage to the virtualization process. Without certain tools, setup and execution of virtual environments can be difficult and even impossible in some circumstances.

How is server virtualization used?

In the current market, and during a time when remote workplaces are more common than ever, using virtual servers is becoming the new standard. Virtualization improves performance in deployment and migration, all while eliminating redundancies.

Accessibility: Server virtualization improves data access, providing greater consistency compared to traditional on-premises servers. It sets a new standard of accessibility with security for users all over the world.

Development: Implementing server virtualization into enterprise architectures makes it possible to stay up to date with the rapidly evolving data processing and storage regulations of modern data storage infrastructures.

Efficiency: Quickly becoming a foundational element to modern data centers, virtual servers enable organizations to do more with less; users can accomplish more with virtual servers’ exponential processing power.

Backup capacity: Server virtualization provides backup and archive storage options that will effectively protect and safeguard data when attacks happen, enabling data recovery with minimal downtime.

Joint solution: When IT is tasked with managing critical workloads, they need a system that is not disjointed; they require a joint solution of virtual machines within their server storage arrays to provide necessary support.

Provisioning of resources: Overprovisioning is a typical method of guaranteeing resource availability during peaks in demand. This creates a spike in cost and has a negative impact on operations due to increased costs and lower efficiency. Server virtualization reduces the need for overprovisioning. As rapid or unexpected spikes in growth are less likely to require additional hardware or physical servers, this data can immediately be contained and managed on additional VMs.

Running simultaneous applications: Small businesses virtualize servers to simplify resource allocation and allow multiple applications to run on a single server. For instance, you can run accounting, payroll, and productivity apps all on the same server, simultaneously, which effectively reduces costs by simplifying the management of ever-growing workloads.

HPE and virtual servers

HPE ProLiant servers enable you to be prepared for anything, ensuring business continuity and data protection, both on-premises and off-site. These servers come with configuration options including Teradici or VMware Horizon, both of which are tested and proven for on-premises and hybrid cloud environments.

In addition, HPE Pointnext Services is actively helping organizations cope with remote work challenges. Our services help you to reduce maintenance and simplify operations, improving efficiency, enhancing capabilities, and helping guide your business to find the right strategy for digital transformation. We use the HPE Digital Journey Map to anchor and combine the functional, technical, and economic capabilities and models required to enable your initiatives and fulfill your aspirations.

HPE also offers Remote Desktop Services (RDS) for organizations that require multiple remote employees to access the same system running either on a physical server or virtual machine from anywhere.

And with HPE partner VMware vSphere virtualization platform, you can transform your data centers into aggregated computing infrastructures that include networking resources. For example, vCenter Server is the service through which you manage multiple hosts connected in a network and pool host resources. The vCenter Server appliance offers multiple services within one device, including authentication, certificate management, and licensing.