What Is a Virtual Machine and Why Is it Useful?

Have you heard all the buzz about virtual machines? That’s not surprising.

Virtual machines are changing the game for IT teams. That’s why the virtual machine market is expected to reach a value of.

If you’re asking the question, “what is a virtual machine?” this post will help. Keep reading to learn what is a virtual machine used for and why it’s helpful for IT users.

What Is a Virtual Machine?

A virtual machine is a software-based, emulated computer system. This means that the computer system runs on a program (the virtual machine) and acts as if it’s a physical computer.

You can install virtual machines using operating systems like Windows, Linux, or Mac OS. It’s possible to install multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single hard drive with a virtual machine.

All you need is enough disk space and memory on the host computer.

It’s also possible to run virtual machines across a network with other users of virtual machines, which is helpful for companies that want to share different versions of different operating systems for testing purposes. IT professionals can use these features to create test systems before they roll out updates into production environments.

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Why Are Virtual Machines Useful?

Now that you know what a virtual machine can do, the question is, why would you use one instead of building a new computer? Below are all the benefits you’ll see when you set up virtual machines.

Use Custom Computer Configurations

If you run a business, the chances are good that you have a default setup for your computer systems. You know what works, so you don’t want to change things up. That’s why you limit the software that employees can install on their computers.

However, this is a problem if you need to use a different piece of software. The problem is that you don’t know what conflicts will arise when you install something new. In some cases, it can cause severe problems that cause computers not to work.

That’s where virtual machines help. You can create custom computer configurations designed for unique software. You don’t have to modify your default computer configurations to take advantage of these programs.

Reduce Overhead

If you run a complex business network, the chances are good that you have software that runs on servers. You can’t rely on individual workstations to run these programs. Everyone needs access to this software, so you need to store it in a central location.

The problem is that computer servers are expensive. Good server hardware can cost thousands of dollars. If you need several servers, you might end up using all your IT budget.

You can use virtual machines as a replacement for servers. Instead of owning multiple servers for your software, you only need one. Your single server can spin up several virtual machines for all your needs.

Variety of Options

Building a virtual machine infrastructure is as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. There are many options available for free. However, you won’t get as much support with these options.

If you want to spend some money, you can spend more on commercial products. These options also come with support, so you have access to tech support teams for help.

You can also find options for any operating system your company uses. Whether you’re looking for the best VM for Mac, Windows, or Linux, several options are available for each of these operating systems.

Easy Recovery

It’s challenging to recover a computer when it crashes. If the hard drive dies or your equipment fails, you’ll need to spend a lot of time and money getting things back up and running. With a virtual machine, that isn’t as much of an issue.

You only need to worry about your server hardware failing with a virtual machine. Most virtual machine software can take snapshots of your operating system. This means that your system configuration is saved when nothing is wrong.

If something does happen that causes system instability, all you need to do is restore a snapshot. You can do this with a few clicks of a button, so you won’t spend nearly as much time in recovery mode if a virtual machine fails.

Test System Upgrades

As mentioned before, you likely have a default configuration for all your computer systems. While these configurations will work great most of the time, you sometimes need to make some changes.

Unfortunately, you can’t always predict what will happen when you introduce those changes. If you add or upgrade an application on your computers and it breaks your system, your IT team is going to work overtime.

You can test system upgrades on virtual machines before you role updates out for all your systems. Doing this means you can test for problems beforehand and not bring your company’s production to a halt when something goes wrong.

Test File Downloads

While the internet has given us access to many types of productive software, there is one significant drawback. You’ll find tons of viruses and malware on the internet.

This is a problem when you try to test new programs on regular computers. If you download the wrong file, you might end up infecting your computer and all computers connected to the same network.

You can stop this from happening by downloading those files on a virtual machine. You can isolate virtual machines from the rest of your network and host computer. If you download a virus and infect your VM, simply scrap the VM and start again from scratch.

Add a Virtual Machine to Your Tech Stack Today

Now that you can answer the question, “what is a virtual machine?” you have what you need to make the most of one. You can get started with virtual machines for free, so download the software today to start up your first virtual computer.

If you want more tech tips, head back to the blog. Our latest posts cover the latest tech that can make the difference.

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