1-832-478-9159 Monday - Friday 9 am - 5 pm

A Dive Into Virtual Machines And Their Use

A Dive Into Virtual Machines And Their Use

Virtual Machines or in short "VMs" have become an integral part of today's technology landscape. offering a wide array of functionalities and efficiencies for enterprises and individuals. However, what exactly is a virtual machine? This Cloud Ninjas' post intends to explain VMs, explore their applications and highlight the leading virtualization tools and software used in today's market.

What is a Virtual Machine?

A virtual machine is a software emulation of a computer system that provides the functionality of a physical computer. VMs run on a host machine and is capable of executing programs and applications as if it were a seperate computer. A Virtual Machine operates based on the architecture of a real or hypothetical computer, and its implementations can be based on specific hardware or software emulation. These VMs no matter what operating system the host is running on can run a variety of different emulated operating systems - for example, a host running a Windows Operating System can use a virtualization software such as Virtual Box to run a Linux based distro such as Ubuntu.

How Do Virtual Machines Work?

Virtual machines utilize a layer called the hypervisor, which sits between the hardware and the virtual machine. The Hypervisor allocates physical resources from the host machine and gives them to the VM. In this case, there are two types of hypervisors: Type 1(bare metal), which runs directly on the host's hardware, and type 2 (hosted), which runs on a conventional operating system just like any other software. The VM has its own virtual hardware, including CPUs, memory, storage drives, and network interfaces, which are mapped to the host's hardware by the hypervisor. This setup allows multiple VMs to run simultaneously on one single physical machine, with different isolated environments. As an example a windows OS based host with enough physical resources can run 2 or more virtual machines, each one using different operating systems such as Fedora, Ubuntu or older versions of windows.

The Uses Of Virtual Machines

Virtual machines are used for a multitude of purposes, each using the versatility and isolation provided. Some common uses include:

  1. Software Testing and Development: Developers use VMs to create and test applications in different environments without the need for multiple physical machines.
  2. Server Virtualization: Businesses use VMs to consolidate their server hardware, allowing multiple virtual servers to run on a single physical host.
  3. Desktop Virtualization: This allows users to have multiple virtual desktops, which can be configured differently for various tasks or user roles.
  4. Running Legacy Applications: VMs can emulate older operating systems, allowing people and enterprises to run legacy applications that lost support for newer operating systems and newer hardware.
  5. Security and Isolation: Virtual Machines can provide a secure isolated environment for testing potentially malicious software or aceessing sensitive information, without affecting the host system.

Popular Virtualization Software

Several Virtualization software options are available today, each offering a unique set of features and capabilities. The most widely used are:

  1. VMware vSphere: Leading paid virtualization platform widely recognized for its robustness, scalability, and extensive feature set, making it a preferred choice for enterprise environments.
  2. Microsoft Hyper-V: Integrated with the Windows Server Operating System, Hyper-V is a popular choice for windows centric environments, offering deep integration with other Microsoft products.
  3. Oracle VM VirtualBox: A free and open-source option, VirtualBox is a favored options due to its versatility, and compatibility with multiple operating systems, making it a popular choice for desktop virtualization that can be used by enterprises and anyone with interest in using different operating systems from the host's OS.
  4. Citrix XenServer: Known for its virtual infrastructure capabilities, XenServer offers a strong support for desktop virtualization, along side its server virtualization features.
  5. KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine): KVM is an open-source option integrated into Linux, turning the OS into a hypervisor. It's a preferred choice for linux environment due to its performance and integration with Linux.


Virtual Machines offer a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solution for a wide range of computing needs, from development and testing to server consolidation and desktop virtualization. As technology progresses, the role of VMs is likely to grow, driven by the increasing need for efficiency, security, and resource optimization in computing environments. Whether your a developer, IT professional, or business executive, understanding virtual machines and their capabilities can be a valuable asset in navigating the tech realm.

Microsoft Operating Systems for Servers
Server System's configurator

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published