Virtual Machines: Computer in a Box

What is a virtual machine and why is it important? In today’s article we will be doing a deep dive into virtual machines and their significance they play in today’s technological landscape.

Virtual machines are a relatively abstract concept on the surface. A virtual machine is exactly what it sounds like, a virtual computer. But what does that mean? How can a computer be virtual? Well, every computer has resources (CPU, RAM, and storage). Some computers have little resources, and some have a lot of resources. There are some particularly powerful computers known as servers. Servers live in data centers.

A server’s job is to be up and running 24/7. Servers have lots of resources, and often preform a specific role. Some servers store files, some servers host websites, and some servers host virtual machines.

Virtual machines work extremely well on servers because servers have lots of resources. Why are resources so important? Well, a virtual machine allows a user to divide a host computer’s (e.g., a server) resources into smaller “boxes” of resources. These boxes can function as a computer inside of a computer. These boxes are known as guests.

So, a virtual machine is a guest computer that uses an isolated portion of the host computer’s resources and can function as a full-fledged computer. This serves a very important purpose. The data centers that support the internet have multiple servers and millions of people use them at any given moment. However, it would be extremely expensive to buy a server for every new user.

This is where virtual machines come in. Virtual machines allow the owners of the data center to purchase a reasonable number of servers and create multiple virtual machines on those servers. This help to reduce the capital that needs to be spent on physical hardware by allowing companies to create multiple virtual computers. By doing this a company can allot more money to critical areas such as cybersecurity.

Virtual machines can also be used for things that require an isolated environment, such as malware analysis. Due to the virtual nature of virtual machines, malware analysts can run malware and monitor its behavior and then restore the virtual machine back to a known clean state. This allows the malware analysts to study the malware with minimal risk to the corporate network.

Overall, virtual machines are extremely useful. They offer a way to reduce expenses while protecting the organization. Hopefully this will inspire you to do more research into the fascinating world of virtual machines and what they have to offer. Until next time!

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