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Virtualization has revolutionized the IT world.


The concepts and practices of administering virtualized servers are critical systems administrator (or sysadmin) skills. This is why it’s a big part of the new CompTIA Server+ (SK0-005) exam.


The Cloud, Servers and Virtualization

As we are all aware, today’s IT world is more and more focused on cloud computing. There are several ways of conceiving cloud computing. One way is to think of it as off-loading responsibility. Another way is that the cloud is just someone else’s computer. Let’s examine both concepts and how they are applied in the course.

With traditional servers, sysadmins were responsible for all aspects of server maintenance. When a network interface card (NIC) failed, a hard drive crashed or a power supply blew out, it was the business’s own IT team that had to address the failure. As a sysadmin for a small organization, I recall replacing server hard drives regularly.

What if I could have off-loaded the responsibility for hardware maintenance to someone outside of our organization? Even better, what if I could have had someone else configure database environments or manage basic user applications like Microsoft Office?

That’s where the cloud comes in. There are three primary cloud service models outlined in the CompTIA Server+ exam objectives. One way of understanding these three is how responsibility is off-loaded to a cloud service provider (CSP):

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): The CSP manages the software, including installation, patching and licensing. Your organization pays a subscription fee.

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): The CSP manages the application environment, such as database installation. Your organization is charged a fee based on utilization of the environment.

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): The CSP manages the data center and all server hardware within it. If a drive fails, the cloud vendor replaces it. Your organization pays a fee based on utilization.

CompTIA Server+ also covers the five cloud characteristics and the four cloud deployment models.

I mentioned above that the cloud can be thought of as “someone else’s computer.” That is usually the case, but not always. CSPs manage their own data centers and provide access to virtualized environments hosted on hardware they are responsible for. Hence the idea that the cloud is someone else’s computer.

It’s worth noting, as CompTIA Server+ does, that an organization can host its own private cloud in its own data center using cloud management technologies. This provides the benefits of cloud virtualization while allowing the organization to retain complete control of the environment.

Virtualization Is an Essential Topic

The virtualization and cloud computing topics in the new CompTIA Server+ provide a solid foundation for those who are preparing for the certification exam and a career in IT systems administration. Understanding the management of the original client–server structure helps clarify the importance of virtualization and cloud computing.

Check out our training courses we have availlable on networking and virtualization. 

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