Virtualization, the process of creating a virtual machine (VM), which is an abstract construct of computer hardware that enables a single machine to act as many, offers many advantages and disadvantages. Without using virtual machines, a singular operating system would use all the hardware resources the device has installed. With a virtual machine, multiple different OS can be used, and the resources would then be shared. This enables a computer to use the same hardware to run various operating systems, eliminating the need for multiple computers to accomplish the same task. Thus, power consumption, the cost of equipment, air conditioning requirements, and building space, are all lessened. Because of the dangers of global warming, the reduced environmental impact that implementing virtual machines has is a great strength. Virtual machines can also make IT operations easier and more effective. Virtual machine monitors (VMM) control virtualization by acting as a regulation and translation system between the virtual machines and hardware they use.
Virtual machine software comes in many variations. Companies such as Intel, VMware, Jaluna, and Novell all make virtual machine monitoring programs. These companies seek to create virtual machine software that offers the many benefits from virtualization. These benefits include server consolidation, the ability to develop and test software and applications in a controlled environment, improved disaster recovery, and improved system reliability. However, there are several disadvantages of virtualization as well. There is a higher risk of physical fault due to running multiple OS on a single computer; if one physical component fails, each OS will shut down. This risk tends to have users spend more money on higher performing and more reliable hardware for their systems running virtualization, although, this costs significantly more.
Another drawback of virtualization is decreased performance. Each virtual machine on a single system will suffer from lesser performance than if an OS was running alone on a computer, or if the OS were set up in a dual-boot manner. Additionally, creating and managing virtual machines, especially in the business world, can be much more difficult than running physical servers. Finally, virtual machines are not supported by all applications, which can cause compatibility issues. If these issues are too problematic, dual-booting different operating systems can eliminate much of these potential issues by merely creating a partition on your physical hard drive for an additional operating system.
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