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A virtual infrastructure is a software-based IT infrastructure being hosted on another physical infrastructure and meant to be distributed as a service as in cloud computing’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) delivery model. It provides organizations, particularly smaller ones that cannot afford to build their own physical infrastructure, access to enterprise-grade technology such as servers and applications. The distribution is often done via the cloud, meaning over large networks such as the internet.
The main purpose of a virtual infrastructure is to bring enterprise-level technology to organizations that cannot afford the large capital required to pay for the hardware, software licenses, setup and continual maintenance of an actual data center infrastructure. The technology involves virtualization, which is the utilization of physical server resources to host logical or virtual servers and networking hardware in order to optimize resources and drive costs down by hosting multiple virtual servers in a single host server.
The idea is that no single server is actually taxed enough to the point that its resource limits are reached so it would be more prudent to make use of these resources by running multiple logical servers that, together, can make use of the actual capacity of the host. This lean approach allows for sharing and distributing resources, which, in turn, promotes flexibility, scalability and lower total cost of ownership.
Benefits of a virtual infrastructure: