What is a Virtual Machine?

Before your business jumps into purchasing another server in order to add a new application to your IT infrastructure, you may want to consider virtualization. If used properly, virtualization (or the use of virtual machines) can help your business more effectively use its IT hardware.

According to Wikipedia:

Hardware virtualization or platform virtualization refers to the creation of a virtual machine that acts like a real computer with an operating system. Software executed on these virtual machines is separated from the underlying hardware resources. For example, a computer that is running Microsoft Windows may host a virtual machine that looks like a computer with the Ubuntu Linux operating system; Ubuntu-based software can be run on the virtual machine.

Basically, you can set up software (called a hypervisor) on your existing server that will run a virtual server, which the network sees as a separate server. You’re essentially running two servers on one computer, eliminating the need for an additional physical server. Instead of running separate physical servers for file sharing, email or a CRM, you could possibly combine all three of those on the same physical server through the use of virtual machines. Virtual machines are also very portable, so they can easily be moved from one physical server to another, making hardware migrations and test environments much easier to manage.

It sounds like a cure-all solution, and sometimes it can be. However, the virtual machine uses resources from the host server, which means that those resources should be more closely monitored to ensure they’re not taxing your physical server or slowing down your network.

Minneapolis-based OAC Technology can help you decide if virtualization is right for your business. For more than 10 years, we’ve been helping businesses with Server Support, ensuring that their systems are up-to-date and secure. Give us a call at 952-548-5558 and we would be happy to sit down with you for no charge and assess your business’s needs.

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