Virtual machines (VM) have become a fixture of many business networks, thanks to their flexibility and cost-effectiveness. But what’s a VM, and why are they so useful?
What is a Virtual Machine?
A virtual machine is a separate, software-based computer that’s contained within your physical computer. It will run an operating system and apps within your real computer.
What is a Hypervisor?
A hypervisor is computer software, firmware or hardware that creates and runs virtual machines. A computer on which a hypervisor runs one or more virtual machines is called a host machine, and each virtual machine is called a guest machine.
Why use a Virtual Machine?
1. Isolation from the host operating system. Can do all experimentation inside a virtual machine (VM) so that you can install experimental software in the VM without risking the stability of our host computer.
2. Easy to stop and start testing. VM applications allow the user to suspend the virtual machine and save its state. This allows the user to save their work in a specific state before shutting down the VM.
3. Quick recovery using snapshots. VM applications allow the user to take a “snapshot” of the current configuration of the VM. If the user causes an unrecoverable problem in the VM by making a mistake installing or patching software, he or she can easily revert to a previous snapshot of the VM.
4. VM Appliances are easy to replicate. Once a guest operating system has been installed in a VM and all the applications and configurations are completed, the VM can be saved as an “appliance”. This appliance can be used later by another researcher, or a student, and can be easily copied and used on another computer.
Which Virtual Machine Application?
There are three major virtual machine applications that run on all three major computer operating systems (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux). The three virtual machine applications are: Parallels, VMWare, and VirtualBox.
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