Virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something. You can virtualize things in the technology world such as a hardware, operating systems, a storage device, network resources, or even software environments (thin apps and emulators). The ultimate goal of virtualization is to centralize tasks while improving scalability and work loads. Some companies envision your OS to be entirely virtual, meaning you only request the resources you need at runtime. Everything exists online and is pulled down and pay for resources as needed. With the speed of our networks today this is possible but currently not used for the average computer owner.
Your computer using your actual storage space from your hard drive as memory that your computer hardware does not have. Virtual memory has been used for many years to run applications that require larger portions of memory but which the computer lacked enough physical memory for that program.
You can have your main installed OS as Microsoft Windows but have a Virtual Image of Linux OS running on your computer. There are many tools that can allow you to do this like VMWare and Virtual PC, you can create self-containing images that you can boot up and run applications on it. This process is mainly used for testing applications, environments, and distributions. Having a image to test stuff on wether its software or websites, at any point if the image because unstable simply reset it to a previous state.
You can pack applications in a bubble that allows them to run without the help of anything and in its own private world, meaning once you close the virtualized application the OS remembers nothing about it, no settings are saved or stored. You can run a virtual application from a USB key, an entire Office suite in fact.
Other virtualization consists of Desktop, Storage, Data, and Network. Head over to our Virtual Apps page to explain emulation of tools and utilities you can install on your USB key. If you have any suggestions on resources or for advertising please contact us.
Non-Virtual Sponsered Resources
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