What Is Virtual Computing?In the tech world, it’s common to see networks set up with access to virtual computers. Virtual computing makes one computer perform like many computers. You do this through a virtual computing provider. Virtual computing allows remote access to software processes and applications. This is an important tool for the growing number of employees working from home. Users get access to what they need via the Internet through a network or wireless server. From there, users can leverage their computer’s size, performance, and processes whenever needed. This real-time technology offers many different benefits. These include:
- Automated problem solving
- Data backup on an operating system
- Learning resources
- Management tools
- Operating system storage
- Troubleshooting capabilities
How Does Virtual Computing Work?Virtual computers give you access to applications and software for a single physical computer or an entire network. You can get what you need when you need it. Because all apps run remotely, the virtual environment is a huge benefit to you and your computer needs. But to do this, you need a virtual computer provider.
Virtual Computing ProvidersThe number of virtual providers has grown in recent years. Today, there are many dedicated companies offering this service. The most well-known include:
Hewlett-PackardThe virtual machine offerings from HP give users access to many benefits. One such benefit is its management of electronic systems. HP offers an allocation of storage as needed. This is important in tracking and managing online and offline storage. The virtual client computing from HP also includes:
IBMIBM is a large company that offers virtual machine operations and configuration. Its virtual tools include:
- System security
MicrosoftMicrosoft provides hardware and software storage solutions through its Windows Operating System. Since it offers a virtual computer system, you don’t need large mainframe configurations or different operating systems. You get access to management, monitoring, and upgrades in a virtual space.
Sun ManagementSun installs, operations, and configures applications without interrupting an operating system. It allows its users to convert back to a previous configuration. And it does this all using multiple virtual machines with an operating system built around virtualization. Most virtual machines providers offer similar services, but guest operating system specifications vary. Some operating systems demand specific tools. To understand what tools and services virtual computing providers offer, contact the company for details.
Virtual Computing Technology Pros and ConsNow that you’ve answered the question what is virtual computing? it’s a good idea to examine its pros and cons. There are advantages and disadvantages of virtual machines. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of both.
Advantages of Virtual ComputingThe main advantage of virtual machine use is remote access. What is remote access? It is when an authorized user accesses a computer or operating system network remotely. This type of access opens up many different possibilities in IT. Other advantages of virtual machines include:
- Data backup
- Greater choice of software applications
- Increased storage space
- Performance monitoring
- Troubleshooting and improvements
- Employees can work remotely from home, cafés, or other spaces
- Managers can monitor data remotely
- Students get access to online courses, materials, and other resources
- Users don’t need a physical computer to access documents
- Users get access to email and can check it on the go
Disadvantages of Virtual ComputingWhile this type of computing gives users access and availability, it does have its downfalls. One disadvantage of virtual computing is the cost. Virtual computing providers aren’t cheap. Having a virtual provider doesn’t mean you can get rid of your IT staff. You need trained personnel to act as a liaison with virtual computing providers. Another disadvantage is time. While virtual computing does allow users to run applications remotely, it is time consuming for IT staff. In many cases, you will pay your employees overtime to troubleshoot issues and handle problems that come up outside of work hours. Remember, your remote users can work at all hours of the day or night.
What is a Virtual Computer?You can group virtual computers into two main categories:
- Remote computers
- Virtual machines
Can a Virtual Machine Infect the Host Computer?Virtual machines are susceptible to viruses. They are also susceptible to:
- Ransomware attacks
Does Virtual Mean It Isn’t Real?Just because it’s virtual doesn’t make it any less real. When something is virtual, it is more about the environment where the activities take place. In this case, the online environment. It’s less about the activities themselves. So, the answer to this question is no. Let’s look at an example: a virtual trade show or conference. This refers to an event that takes place in a virtual setting. It is not a physical venue. The event lacks a physical form, but that doesn’t make it any less real. It’s still taking place in a virtual space. A virtual classroom is another example. A student gets remote access to learning resources in a virtual space. They participate in live lectures. They interact with their peers. They post messages and watch videos. Students actively learn in a virtual space. It doesn’t have a physical form, but it still exists.
Why Virtualize Your Business?To virtualize or not virtualize? This is the question at the forefront of many companies and businesses. But businesses that virtualize receive the benefits of what virtual machines can do.
How Virtualization Can Transform Your BusinessHere are a few ways virtual machines can transform your business.
Create Scalable SolutionsWith virtualization, you can host several virtual machines on the same server. Due the nature of virtualization, you can scale your computer systems and guest operating systems. Cloud computing based virtualization makes this possible.
FlexibilityWith software virtualization, your business operations can become more flexible. Servers can run more than one operating system. Since the virtualization software is separate from the hardware (physical device), you can also run many applications at a time. Virtual machines host all kinds of business processes, and each machine has a different operating system and applications. Each virtual machine acts as an independent physical server. This adds to its flexibility.
Optimize SpaceWhen you utilize a virtual machine, you can optimize your physical space. For example, a Microsoft virtual PC can maximize space because it reduces the number of physical servers needed. Microsoft is the hosting provider. They divide a server into many virtual machines.
Real-World ApplicationsThere are many real-world applications in virtual computing. Whether it’s hardware virtualization or software virtualization, it plays a crucial role today’s (and the future’s) IT architecture. Its real-world applications include:
System virtual machineA virtual machine is a host operating system or an application environment that displays the same characteristics of dedicated underlying hardware in a virtual space. Types of virtual machines include:
- Java virtual machine
- Process virtual machine
Virtual agentThis automated chatbot or voicebot provides customer service without the need of a real person. You don’t need human intervention to use a virtual agent.
Virtual assistantThis type of program or device understands human language. At least to some extent. It performs jobs based on spoken requirements. Examples of virtual assistants include Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.
Virtual memoryVirtual memory allows computer systems or physical machines to to compensate for physical memory shortages. It does this by transferring data to disk storage.
Virtual reality (VR)VR is a well-known artificial environment. The operating system offers immersive experiences for users. Experiences are realistic, but a user’s physical reality doesn’t change.
Virtual switchVirtual machines can communicate with each other through a software program known as a virtual switch. The virtual switch operating system can connect physical computers or help one physical computer communicate with virtual machines.
Virtual tapeVirtual tape is storage technology. It’s as industrious as the name sounds. It makes a drive-based storage system look like a tape library.
Virtual worldVirtual world operating systems provide a simulated environment where users can participate in activities through the creation of a personalized avatar. They can communicate with other users via voice or chat. BDP Staff January 2023 Related Resources:
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