Today instead of an “Operation” we will do a more normal Blog post and the topic is Virtualization. So what does Virtualization mean? Well first something that is Virtual is like the real thing but not quite. Like a reproduction of a famous painting it’s not the original but still looks good. Another term you hear associated with Virtualization is Virtual Machine . A Virtual Machine is a Virtual computer. It’s not what you see next to your desk and you don’t have a physical way to turn on a Virtual Machine. A Virtual Machine is like any other program you have on your computer.  Like any program you double click an icon on your desktop and Voilà a virtual computer starts running within your computer. In the window that pops up after you double click the Virtual Machine you will see a computer booting up, just like when you start your real computer!

So why on earth would I want a Virtual Computer when I have the real thing?

Advantages of Virtual:

  • You can have many different computers on one computer.  More specifically you can have many different Operating Systems running on one computer.  So if you want to try out Macintosh® but your physical computer is a Windows® machine you can install a virtual Macintosh® to try it out!
  • Virtual Backups are easier than a real computer backup.  To backup a Virtual Machine is as easy as backing up a File.
  • Portability; once you backup your virtual machine to a file you can then take your virtual machine backup file and go run it on your friend’s computer.  Every thing you keep in the virtual computer will be accessible!

Disadvantages of Virtual:

  • Virtual computers aren’t as fast as real computers.  Because the virtualzation program has to make a virtual home for your new Virtual computer (Virtual Machine) it takes away some of the computer’s raw power.  This is particularly noticed in resource intensive tasks like playing a video game.
  • Vendor Lock in.  Your Virtual Computer will only run on one Virtualization software package.  So if you want to share your computer with a friend they would have to install the same Virtualization Software.  The good news is there are many free Virtualization software packages.

I want to play with Virtualization, where do I get started?  (We have experience with the first two only):

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One Response to Virtualization

  1. Paul D Mallett says:

    Hi, Just nosing around your site, seems I am following in your foot steps.
    Check out Virt-Manager GUI and KVM for remote install and management of guests on remote host.
    The Virt-Manager is pretty useless but there are plenty of docs on KVM and Red Hat site.

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