Have you ever got bored of the Operating System which you were using and wanted to switch over to something else, But didn’t have enough money to buy a new one?? Then Virtual Machine is a solution for you!!
Now don’t get intimidated by the term! It might sound so initially. Even I too was flustered by what it meant when I first encountered this term. But once you get to know about it, you would feel that it could be something which you could use in your daily life!
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Virtual”?? Think…..
Sci-fi, Simulation Games, Video Conferencing, Tele Presence, Skype, Virtual Images(Remember!!You might have studied this in your Physics Class-Optics, focal length, Real Image….), Virtual Memory (Related to Memory Allocation in an Operating System. I would talk about that in my forthcoming blogs), 3D Movies….Well, the list would go on..
So, what you have thought of are terms which belong to contrasting contexts. Movies, Games, Physics, Operating Systems.. You know what I mean? But, all of them are related in one aspect. They try to create a simulated or make-believe environment. To show something which might not be physically existing.
This can be related to the field of Operating Systems also. With a physically existing Operating Machine, we could have another “Virtual” Operating System to run over it. And the reason we are calling it Virtual is, because even though it is not the primary Operating System of your computer, you are made to believe that it is one! It would perform all the functions which one would normally perform in an operating system, like browsing the net, creating files and folders etc.
One of the main advantages of using a Virtual Machine would be that you could use two operating systems at once! Once the Virtual Machine is running, it would just be another window of an application and you can easily switch between them.
Now there are many Virtual Machine providers in the Market. Some are free and some are paid. The popular Virtual Machines providers are- VMWare, QEMU, ParallelsDesktop, VirtualBox.
Some of them are used for specific purposes. For Example- The ParallelsDesktop is normally run in the Mac OS X operating System. It is used to run Windows over the Operating System. VMWare comes up with different packages based on the needs of the end user. Just to name a few-VMWare Workstation Player and VMWare Workstation Pro. The former is for people who just want to get a feel of the Virtual Environment and the latter are for the ones who would like to experiment and use some advanced features. One way of using it would be to run VMWare on a Windows Operating System and have a virtual Linux Environment. QEMU is another Virtual Machine which is mainly used in the Linux based Operating Systems and it can run Windows over it.
If you are Interested there are many articles and reports which would give you a further Insight on this topic.