Virtual Machines: What They Are, How They Work, And How They Differ From Containers

Virtualization of physical equipment allows you to use its resources more efficiently and get more freedom in installing the right software. In the article, we will talk about the “virtualization unit” – a virtual machine; let’s figure out what it is and how it works.

What Is A Virtual Machine, And How Does It Work

A virtual machine (VM, VM) is a virtual copy of actual hardware, an application that functions as a physical computer or server. It is also called a virtual server.

From the user’s point of view, the virtual machine looks like real hardware – as if you are using programs or applications installed on your computer, only this computer is not accurate but virtual.

A VM does not depend on real hardware and can only use the resources that have been added. For example, it reproduces inside itself the code of the operating system installed on it.

By the way, this OS may differ from the operating system installed on the computer. That is, a Linux VM can be running on a Windows computer, and the necessary applications that work with this operating system, but are not suitable for Windows, are installed on it.

Just like that, the virtual machine will not work; there must be a layer between it and the physical equipment – a specialized program called a hypervisor. It kind of copies (emulates) processor time, memory, hard disk, network, and other hardware resources of a physical device, allowing virtual machines to share them.

Why Do We Need Virtual Machines?

With their help, you can use physical equipment more efficiently – which means that you need less of it to solve your tasks. Also, using a virtual machine reduces the need for electricity and cooling.

In addition, the benefits of virtual machines are used to simplify backups, infrastructure disaster recovery, new application deployments, and basic system administration tasks – a new VM with the right OS and code can be easily deployed from a virtual image.

Virtual machines are easy to move between physical servers, for example, when you need to replace the equipment with a new one or redistribute the load between servers. This simplifies the management of a cluster, a group of multiple servers. VMs can also be copied to optimize the use of hardware resources.
Different virtual machines on the same physical server usually consume different amounts of resources; that is, one can use all the available physical storage, while the other can store a few files, so balancing the distribution of public resources between VMs is required.

Also Read: Microsoft Has Created A Super-Fast Supercomputer, But It Doesn’t Have Windows

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