A Virtual Machine (VM) is a software-defined computer within a physical server, existing only as a code. It allows you to share resources between multiple guests or VMs. It has memory, a CPU, and disks to store your data and can connect to the internet if needed, making it the digital version of a physical computer.
There are 2 types of virtual machines and they are as follows:
- Process virtual machine:
This type of cloud-based VM runs only one process on a host machine. The best example of a process VM is Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It enables any system to run Java applications.
- System virtual machine:
A system VM is a fully virtualized technology that is built to replace a physical machine. With the help of a hypervisor, it runs on a different host machine.
How does a VM work?
Virtualization is the process of designing a software-based version of a computer, with memory, CPU, and storage that are borrowed from a physical server like your private computer. You can run several operating systems and applications on the same server at the same time. It is the basic technology that powers cloud computing.
What are VMs used for?
- To back up your operating systems.
- To run applications or software on systems that they were not planned for in the first place.
- To have access to virus-infected files and data.
- To run an old application by installing an older operating system.
- To design and deploy applications to the cloud.
- To create a new environment to simplify running dev-test scenarios.
- To try out new operating systems, including beta releases.
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Benefits of VMs
Virtual machines operate like individual, physical computers with individual applications and software. However, they are entirely independent of each other and the physical host server. Also known as a virtual machine manager, a hypervisor is a piece of software that allows you to run a number of operating systems on different virtual machines at the same time.
Since they do not depend on one another, they are also very portable. Due to their portability and flexibility, they offer a number of benefits, such as:
Spinning up a virtual machine is relatively much simpler and faster than setting a completely new environment for your developers. The process of running dev-test scenarios can be made a lot quicker with the help of virtualization.
Virtualization allows you to run numerous virtual environments on a single piece of infrastructure. This means you do not have to buy and maintain servers, this allows you to save on maintenance and electricity expenses.
In order to distribute the workload across multiple virtual machines, VMs add more physical and virtual servers. This allows you to easily and smoothly scale your applications.
- Lowered downtime:
Virtual machines are extremely easy to move from one hypervisor to another. In case your host crashes unexpectedly, VMs are a great solution to backup all your data and applications.
- Better security:
Since virtual machines operate in more than one system, you can run applications of questionable security using a guest operating system. This protects your host system. VMs are also often used to safely study computer viruses.
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Virtual machines in cloud computing provide a pool of IT resources that can be used to benefit your business. Virtualization enables you to create several VMs, each with its own operating system and applications, on a single system.
Q1: What is a hypervisor?
Ans: A hypervisor is software that designs and operates virtual machines. It allows one host computer to share its resources, such as memory and processing, among various guest VMs.
Q2: What is a Spot Virtual Machine?
Ans: A Spot VM is a part of services provided by a cloud provider. It is perfect for workloads that can be interrupted, such as big data, container-based, analytics, large-scale stateless applications.
Q3: Are virtual machines safe?
Ans: Virtual machines allow you to run dangerous stuff like malware without risking your main operating system. It does so by creating a separate and isolated environment from the main server.