What is a Virtual Machine

The heart of virtualization is the “virtual machine” (VM), a tightly isolated software container with an operating system and application inside. Because each virtual machine is completely separate and independent, many of them can run simultaneously on a single computer. A thin layer of software called a hypervisor decouples the virtual machines from the host and dynamically allocates computing resources to each virtual machine as needed.

This architecture redefines your computing equation and delivers:

  • Many applications on each server. As each virtual machine encapsulates an entire machine, many applications and operating systems can run on a single host at the same time.
  • Maximum server utilization, minimum server count. Every physical machine is used to its full capacity, allowing you to significantly reduce costs by deploying fewer servers overall.
  • Faster, easier application and resource provisioning. As self-contained software files, virtual machines can be manipulated with copy-and-paste ease. Virtual machines can even be transferred from one physical server to another while running, via a process known as live migration. You can also virtualize business-critical apps to improve performance, reliability, scalability and reduce costs.

Levels of Virtualization

Server Consolidation
Virtualizing one or two servers is just the beginning. The next step is to aggregate a server cluster into a single consolidated resource. For example, instead of 20 servers running at 15 percent of capacity each, you can reduce your hardware count—and associated costs—to four servers, each performing at 80 percent.

Desktop Virtualization
VMware enables you to deliver secure virtual desktops as a managed service for remote and branch office employees. Our virtual desktop solutions increase business flexibility, simplify management and reduce your costs.

Software-Defined Data Center
Ultimately, you can attain the full efficiency and agility of cloud computing by virtualizing, pooling and automating all data center resources—servers, storage, networking, security and availability—and tying everything together with policy-based provisioning and automated operations management. The result is a Software-Defined Data Center where:

  • Capacity expands and contracts as needed.
  • Applications can be provisioned on-demand.
  • Every application is assured of the right levels of performance, compliance and security.
  • IT can shift resources and budget away from infrastructure management and maintenance, toward creating innovations that give your company an edge.