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Technology Basics: Virtual Machine

Technology Basics: Virtual Machine

Your business’ servers are extraordinarily expensive machines. Maintaining them isn’t cheap, but if they fail, it can be very bad for business. What does the small business that doesn’t have tens of thousands of dollars to throw into a server do when they need to stretch their IT budget? 

They virtualize.

A virtual machine provides the ability to host multiple virtual servers, providing more incentive for a business to go big with their initial IT expenses, because they can get immense value out of them.
Let’s start with some terms that are often associated with virtual machines:

  • Virtualization - Virtualization is the process where information that is found on physical hardware (or the physical hardware itself) is transferred into a virtual environment. 
  • Hypervisor - The process that takes hardware resources and combines them in a way where they can be delivered into a virtual environment. 
  • P2V - Short for “physical-to-virtual”, which is the act of migrating resources from a physical server to a virtual one. 
  • Snapshot - An image of the state of a virtual machine at any specific point. In a snapshot you can see all of the data, configurations, and programs that are open at the time, in effect saving all the work that has been done on that system.
  • Clone - An exact copy of a virtual machine that can be transferred to another VM. 

Host and Guest

When committing to using virtualized resources, you need to understand that your VM is the guest of a host machine. The host machine is typically a high-powered server that you would have normally used to host your computing resources, while each virtual machine, whether it is a virtualized server or a virtualized desktop (or something else), are guests on the hosted machine. By being able to fit several guest machines on one host machine, you can save a substantial amount of money. 

Uses of Virtual Machines

The virtual machine is often used for non-essential purposes, but it can be rolled out to cover about any computing process a business needs. They are predominantly utilized in resource testing. Some more popular uses include:

  • Try out a new operating system (OS) - Running a new OS on a virtual machine can provide technicians and administrators with the perspective needed to determine if the new OS is right for their business.
  • Use Desktop as thin client - the virtual desktop turns even a PC with fewer resources into a productivity machine. 
  • Testing software - One of the most prevalent uses is to test new software before installing it on a larger computing infrastructure. 
  • Consolidation - Virtual machines are being used more than ever. Today, virtual server technology can allow organizations to roll out one server and use it to host several. This presents the opportunity for major cost savings.

By virtualizing some of your computing resources, you can save money and gain flexibility. Learn more about the virtual machine by calling the IT experts at Computerware today at (703) 821-8200.

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