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Data centers consist of both physical and virtualized IT resources. The physical IT resource layer refers to the facility infrastructure that houses computing/networking systems and equipment, together with hardware systems and their operating systems (Figure 1). The resource abstraction and control of the virtualization layer is comprised of operational and management tools that are often based on virtualization platforms that abstract the physical computing and networking IT resources as virtualized components that are easier to allocate, operate, release, monitor, and control.

Virtualization components are discussed separately in the upcoming Virtualization Technology section.