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How Virtual Computing Works

        Tech | Networking

Virtual Computing Disadvantages and the Future
Virtual computing expands your computer's capabilities beyond what you can plug in.
Virtual computing expands your computer's capabilities beyond what you can plug in.
Photo courtesy Dreamstime

While virtual computing does enable servers to perform more tasks and run more applications, it can also be time consuming and laborious for some IT staff. Even though the applications are remote, managers must still track and monitor files, applications, data and storage. Virtual computing can increase their workload because now they have more places to track.

Security and firewall issues must also be monitored and addressed to prevent the loss or theft of data in a virtual or remote environment. Transfer of information and the need for physical computers and servers to interact remotely must also be monitored continually. It's a balancing act, but for many organizations, virtual computing doesn't cut costs or the need for IT staff.

Other cost issues include what virtual providers should charge for each use of software application. Because virtual computing allows one computer to run many applications at the same time, the computer could be running several different applications of the same software simultaneously. There have been concerns regarding paying repeatedly for the same software. To address that issue, providers are exploring a meter process, which would provide users a specific amount of uses and charge them for any overages.

The Future of Virtual Computing

Virtual computing has been in existence for years. Only recently has its application become more popular in the corporate IT world. In the technology world, however, new developments and explorations continue to produce faster, more integrated technologies than before.

IBM introduced the concept of grid computing. Grid computing joins the monumental power of all of IBM's data centers worldwide (forming a grid) and makes it available to customers. Unlike traditional virtual computing, grid computing offers consumers unlimited use. The government, aerospace industry, science, higher education facilities and the military are all currently using grid computing. For more information on grid computing, read the white paper, "Grid Explained."

Consider also virtual computers, where files aren't stored on a hard drive, but are remotely accessed through cyberspace on any computer where you can log in to the Internet. This concept is currently available to computer users for Internet and e-mail access. Virtual computers will expand that capability and allow users access to all of their files and applications from any computer. Traditional microcomputers with large, external hard drives won't be necessary. Users will not need to carry laptops or removable storage devices like CDs from one computer to another.

For lots more information on virtual computing and related topics, check out the links on the next page.