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Virtual Machines in Cloud Computing

Virtual Machines in Cloud Computing

The simplest way to describe a virtual machine (or a "VM") is to say that it is like a virtual computer, complete with the ability to run applications and store data just like a physical computer could.

If you're wondering how a virtual machine can benefit a cloud computing set-up, read on to learn more.

What Are Virtual Machines Used for?

Virtual machines can be divided into two major groups that represent different types of virtualization:

  • System Virtual Machines
  • Process Virtual Machines

System virtual machines can stand in for a physical computer and can run an entire computer operating system. These VMs are managed by a form of software called a hypervisor, which allows multiple cloud environments to run on the same physical machine without interacting with each other. In essence, a system VM runs like a physical computer while existing within a cloud computing setup.

Meanwhile, process virtual machines focus on supporting a single process within a host operating system. A process VM acts as if it were a regular application on the host OS, allowing functionality for the specific process across multiple devices.

Among other things, VMs allow you to:

  • Give new operating systems a "test drive"
  • Back up your current OS
  • Install an older OS in order to run an older application
  • Run software or applications on operating systems that they weren't designed for

End-to-End Isolation

Running a virtual machine provides a higher level of security. For example, using VMs allows you to implement fault and security isolation, which means dividing the operations of a machine into different sections. By having different VMs that focus on their own separate processes, you can track any security issues that arise within an individual machine.

If one of your devices is infected, you can use your VM setup to isolate and study the virus through an external program rather than allow it to risk your physical host machine. Similarly, you can run an application that may or may not be secure on a virtual machine instead of on your main operating system. That way, any security issues will only affect the VM rather than your host device.

Apart from security, another advantage of cloud tech via VMs is greater control over the resources used by your systems, meaning you can make sure that your machines are performing at a high level.

Hardware Independence and Cost Benefit

Virtual machines offer you a greater degree of mobility. Instead of being trapped on an individual piece of physical hardware, you can use your cloud computing resources to migrate between different virtual desktop machines that you have set up.

Apart from maximum flexibility and convenience, the hardware independence produced by the use of VMs can also save you money in the long run. Instead of investing in a wall of servers, you can instead rely on a virtual server setup. Through server virtualization, one piece of physical hardware can run multiple virtual environments, each devoted to a specific function or process.

Fewer physical servers mean less money that you need to spend on repair, maintenance, electricity, and even A/C for your servers.

Quick Partitioning

As previously mentioned, software virtualization through the use of virtual machines can make an individual device far more efficient in its ability to run multiple processes or applications, thereby improving server workload.

In fact, VMs can run more than one operating system on a single physical machine. This means that each device can devote the appropriate level of physical resources toward each process, with all of the operating systems partitioned from each other. This gives you greater control over workload placement.

All of this can be done in a relatively short amount of time because a VM is easier and faster to create than a completely new virtual environment. This gives developers more time and energy to focus on developing test case scenarios to be run within the VM, which can streamline your entire development process.

Enables Encapsulation

Imagine the difficulty of moving and copying an entire operating system from one device to another. With the use of a virtual machine and storage virtualization, that process becomes about as simple as copying and moving files between devices.

That's essentially what the hypervisor does as it manages the resources of each VM that is under its control. This can lead to faster performance and greater efficiency.

Enables Workload Migration

If you've ever had to go through moving a service or program from an in-house infrastructure to a cloud service provider, then you know that the workload migration process can be quite the undertaking.

Fortunately, virtual machines are portable and allow for a high degree of digital flexibility and mobility. This means that any workload migration that you undergo can take place in far less time and with a greater degree of efficiency. In other words, workload migration with VMs is less of a headache.

Improve Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

A similar benefit of virtual machines is that each self-contained VM can be treated as a portable asset. This means that you can move a VM from one machine to another, or from the control of one hypervisor to another one.

In practice, this allows you to use a VM as a solid backup solution. If you're worried about your host machine failing in an unexpected event, you can rely on a backup in a cloud environment VM to preserve everything you need.

Even if you don't face an unexpected digital disaster, you can still use cloud architecture to create a sense of continuity thanks to replicating systems that provide continuous updates.

Contact a Leading Cloud Provider to Schedule a Consultation

No matter what the size of your team is, setting up a cloud virtual machine can save you money, provide greater cybersecurity and digital stability, and give your organization the edge it needs.

Contact TechBldrs today for a consultation to see how our cloud computing services can save your organization money, decrease downtime, and reduce your IT risk.

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