If you ever hear the word virtualization mentioned in a conversation I will bet that you will immediately think of big companies with hundreds , if not thousands of computers, and big data centers. What if I told you your small business (with maybe only 1-10 employees) could also benefit from virtualization and that in fact it could make you run more efficient and not cost you any extra money. I shall now explain how.
The basis of virtualization is very simple. It is the ability to run multiple operating systems on the same physical hardware at the same time. So for example you could run Windows XP and Windows 7 on the same computer or even Windows 7 running on a Linux system. Now I hear you cry “Why would I ever want to do such a thing?” Let me give you some examples.
Imagine a business owner who purchases a Mac for his business. He intends to use it everyday but then releases that he still needs Windows to run some software. Now by installing a piece of virtualization software from the likes of VMWare, Parallels or Oracle Virtualbox he will be able to run both Max OS X and Windows 7 at the same time on his system and switching between the two when he needs too. He now has the best of both worlds.
Now take another business that runs a mission critical piece of software on Windows XP. They decide to upgrade all their machines in the office to Windows 7 and then realise that the business critical software only runs on XP. What happens now? They can install a piece of software from VMWare called VMWare converter and convert their physical system into a virtual one!! Install VMWare onto their new Windows 7 system and then upload the ‘old’ XP system as a virtual machine.
So what are the benefits of virtualization then?
1. You can run any software you want on any system you like.
2. You are able to run multiple operating systems on the same hardware which in turn cuts down on hardware costs and also electricity costs too.
3. Very easy to backup your systems. If the virtual machine becomes corrupt you just delete it and reload a backup copy. Very fast and simple to recover your systems.
4. The software is free. You can use VMWare Player, Oracle Virtualbox, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xen Server or KVM. The choice is yours!!
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