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Definition: I/O virtualization

Combining and sharing network and storage channels in a virtualized server environment. I/O virtualization enables Ethernet and disk I/O to use one Ethernet adapter in each server, or two for redundancy. I/O virtualization (IOV) reduces the number of cables connected to each server, which become extremely cumbersome in large datacenters.

The operating system in each virtual machine instance (OS and application) communicates with the adapter directly or via an intermediate layer. See server virtualization and cloud networking.