If you’ve ever wondered how an operating system different from the one that came with your computer works, you’ll be happy to know you can try it out on a virtual machine (VM). Yup, and that virtual machine will run on your computer.
You can run other operating systems (OSs) within your current OS via VMs. The virtual OS will run as though it were just another computer program. This is perfect if you want to run software that wasn’t designed for your OS.
VMs, due to their versatility and cost-effectiveness, have become a staple in many business networks. Up next we’re going to tell you more about what a VM is and why it is useful.
What’s a Virtual Machine?
A virtual machine is essentially like having a second computer running on your computer. You get a virtual machine by downloading an app that generates a virtual environment that operates like a separate computer.
Your actual operating system is considered the host and the operating system in the virtual machine provides virtual hardware to you as a guest so you can run the secondary OS.
Within the virtual machine, you can boot an operating system installer disk (or live CD), and the operating system would be “tricked” into believing it is running on its own separate device.
You can open the virtual machine program and use it in a window on your current desktop, anytime you want to use the other operating system.
Uses of Virtual Machine
VMs have several uses, both for enterprise IT administrators and users.
Virtualization’s main appeal is to run many displays and even systems from the same console – Linux and Windows, for example. This lets users switch between applications irrespective of their OS.
VMs mimic the experience of concurrently using multiple machines for complex multi-system servers. Additionally, specific systems remain distinct from each other, adding a protection layer to the operations.
Reduced Overhead Costs
Overhead costs don’t just happen when you buy new hardware – they continue over your workstation life. Continuous hardware repair, power, and licensing expenses can inflict a burden on your business.
VMware, of course, also needs power use and licensing of software. But resource consumption with VMware can be significantly lower than resource consumption with many hardware-based systems.
Virtualization guarantees the hardware is not maintained and continuously updated.
VMware can be a disaster recovery tool that is highly efficient. Since virtual machines create regular copies of their history of operation, copies that can be retraced and revisited as needed, there is little chance of data loss.
Consequently, if your virtual environment has negligible hardware overhead, your server can, to start with, also provide a reduced chance of system failure.
Running Incompatible Software
With VMs, software designed for a different operating system can be run. Mac and Linux users can run Windows in a virtual machine without compatibility headaches to use Windows software on their computers.
Games are, unfortunately, an issue. Virtual machine programs have overhead, so there is no smooth running of 3D games in a VM.
Using a virtual browsing machine helps you to access sites without thinking about infection. You can take a snapshot of your computer after-browsing session, and then roll back to it.
It’s something that a user, using a Type 2 desktop hypervisor, might set up themselves. Alternatively, an admin may have a temporary server-located virtual desktop.
Virtual computers can save time and money efficiently, but they can have their fair share of problems. VMs can rapidly consume your storage resources, slow down performance due to bottlenecks, and consume lots of space with VM sprawl.
Luckily there are effective VM management methods to ensure that your virtual environment is operating as efficiently and reliably as possible.