Sun, 16 Jun, 2024


Virtual Machines: The Wonders of Modern Technology.


By Samrajya Basnyat

You recently downloaded a program from your favorite subreddit. The Redditors say it’s a good program to customize your Desktop. You hurriedly install the program and restart your computer to reorganize your folders. Windows then displays the blue screen of death, you feel anxious and search for videos to fix this problem. Unfortunately, your device is gone for good. This is a problem many people face while downloading unsafe software from the internet. Various viruses are disguised to trick people into destroying their computers; hence, if you ignore the antivirus warnings and still want to check out the program ‘Virtual Machines’ is a lifesaver for running tests.

Virtual machines are virtual environments that function as virtual computers having their CPU, Memory, Network interface, and storage created on a physical hardware system. Virtual machines run on the concept of  Virtualization technology. This technology allows you to create useful IT services by using resources bound to the hardware. It allows the user to use the machine’s full capabilities by dividing among the users or environments. For example, if there are 3 different servers to manage mail, web, and legacy applications, each server uses 30% of the total server potential. Improvements can be made by moving the legacy apps into the mail server increasing its potential from 30 to 60 percent. Hence a server can be used to its full potential freeing up a whole server.


Virtualization technology can be dated back to the ’60s where the technology required for virtualization i.e. hypervisor was developed. The hypervisor is software generally used to create virtual machines and the ancestral version was developed to give multiple users simultaneous access to computers that performed batch processing. It was developed alongside timesharing technology due to the rising user/single machine problems which grew in popularity. This led to the development of UNIX-based operating systems that eventually paved the way to LINUX-based operating systems. In 1990, Most enterprises had physical servers and single-vendor IT stacks, which prevented legacy apps from running on a different vendor’s hardware. Companies started updating their IT environments with less-expensive commodity servers, operating systems, and applications from a variety of vendors; they were bound to underuse physical hardware as each server could only run 1 vendor-specific task.

This was the moment virtualization technology took off as it allowed companies to run servers and legacy apps on multiple OS types and versions. Servers were used with great efficiency which reduced the cost, maintenance, cooling, and set up of the hardware. This widespread applicability reduced vendor constraints allowing for the development of cloud computing. Virtual machines are a part of virtualization technology that has allowed users to create environments for testing new applications and software. Due to its isolated nature, the original system remains unharmed even if the virtual system has been infected with viruses or bugs rendering it useless. It’s a useful way to run Linux and Windows environments side-by-side.
As new software to run virtual machines such as VMware, Virtual Box, etc are released to the public, innovative techniques to run such virtual machines come into existence. In summary, virtual machines have and will continue to play an important role in the future as we steadfast into the world of virtual reality.


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