on 06 May 19
In the digital world of computing, a virtual machine (VM) is an emulation of a particular computer system. Virtual PC machines runs on computer architecture and makes use of functions from real or hypothetical computer where their executions may involve specialized hardware, software, or a combination of both. Meaning to say, a virtual machine is a program that acts as a virtual computer whereby it runs on your current operating system ' the host operating system ' and provides virtual hardware to guest operating systems.
The guest operating system would then be running, as if it were running on a real physical computer, and from the guest operating system perspective, the virtual machine appears to be a real, physical computer.
The guest operating systems that run in windows can be termed as Microsoft Virtual Machines, on your host operating system, just like any other program on your computer and there are other types of virtual machines you may know of such as Linux Virtual Machine, Java Virtual Machine and vmware Virtual Machine.
Components of Virtual Machines
Virtual machines are built to furnish users with their own virtual hardware, including a virtual CPU, memory, hard drive, network interface, and other devices. The virtual hardware devices provided by the virtual machine are pasted to real functioning hardware on your physical machine. For instance, a virtual computer's virtual hard disk is stored in a file that is found on your hard drive.
Moreover, you can have a few virtual machines installed on your system where you're only constrained by the amount of storage you have available. After installing operating systems into your virtual machines, you can open your virtual computer program and choose which virtual machine you want to boot only when the guest operating system is activated and runs in a window on your host operating system.
Popular Uses for Virtual Machines
Virtual machines have a great array of uses that would certainly come in handy for you. Here are the top 10 reasons for using virtual machines:
1) Take a spin on newer versions of operating systems:
With Virtual Machines, you can adopt a safe method in running the development version of Windows 10 on your Windows 8 computer. This method allows you to run a trial with Windows 10 without installing an unstable version of Windows on your computer.
2) Virtualization from your own desktop
There is an emerging trend among the IT community where users store their desktop's applications and operating systems in a separate virtual machine in the server and use their PC as a "thin client" to the server. Each user is isolated from all other users with the help of virtual machine technology, and the maintenance of the applications is shifted from each user's desktop to the datacenter.
3) Test with different operating systems
You can also install different distributions of Linux or other lesser known operating systems in a virtual machine to experiment with them and to understand how they work. Multiple operating systems can run in the same server, eliminating the need to dedicate a single machine to one application.
In fact, if you have a sudden fascination or inclination in Ubuntu, you can install it in a virtual machine and dabble with it in a window on your normal desktop.
4) Utilizing software that requests an outdated operating system
In a situation where you have an important application that only runs on Windows XP, you can install XP in a virtual machine and run that rather prehistoric application in the virtual machine where compatibility isn't an issue. The best part is that virtual machines allow you to use an application that only works with Windows XP without actually installing Windows XP on your computer which is definitely handy since not many hardware fully support Windows XP.
5) Run software formatted for other operating systems
Mac and Linux users can also run Windows in a virtual machine to run Windows software on their computers without the compatibility headaches of Wine and Crossover.
6) Moving and Mimicking
Virtual machines are like transferrable self-contained packages. It is relatively easy to move a Virtual Machine from one server to another to balance the workload, to migrate to faster hardware, as well as to recover from hardware failure. Furthermore, Virtual Machines can be easily mimicked and deployed.
7) Test software on many different platforms
In an event where you need to test whether an application works on multiple operating systems ' or just for the many different versions of Windows ' you can install each in a virtual machine instead of having many different computers around for each.
With virtual machines, it eliminates the need to dedicate a single machine to one application. Old and new applications can run simultaneously with their respective operating systems in multicore servers with many threads of execution, saving space and power consumption in the datacenter. Latest Operating system versions and new applications can be deployed without purchasing new hardware.
9) Compile different servers for business use
For businesses running multiple servers, your existing servers can be inserted into virtual machines and run on a single PC. Each virtual machine is isolated, so this doesn't cause security issues involved with running different servers on the same operating system. The virtual machines can also be moved between physical servers.
10) Safety and Security
As mentioned earlier, due to the isolation of virtual machines, an attack or a hack breach in one does not affect the others. The fault tolerance and security brought about by the isolation of each virtual machine is a major benefit of virtualization. This means, virtual machines can save you time and effort in troubleshooting and fixing.
The blog would have given you a basic idea on how Virtual Machines work and its popular uses. To add addtional uses to the list, please share your comments below.
The concept of virtual machines and virtualization have evolved over the period with concentrated efforts from organizations like Vmware, Citrix, Windows etc.. to optimize infrastructure challenges faced by the industry. IT Professioanls can look forward to a career in Virtualization itself with great opportunities available across the world.
o The demand for professionals with virtualization skills have been constantly on the rise. To see who's actively hiring and what virtualization technologies are they hiring for, you may click here.
At the same time, there are some good Online IT Courses on Virtualization, with which you can learn from basics to advanced implementations.