In a previous post, We have already seen that Virtualisation refers to the creation of virtual (not real) version or environment of something such as an OS (Operating System), Storage Device, a Server, Network Structure or resources. Refer to this post to get an introduction to Virtualization. In this post, we shall answer a rather important question, which is, Why is Virtualization Important?
Why is Virtualization Useful?
Virtualization opens the door to different possibilities and has been widely applied to several major fields in IT. Whether in Security Research or Cloud Computing Virtualization is everywhere. So, let us study the four important reasons for using this technology.
- Running Multiple Operating Systems: You’ll be able to run multiple OS with a single host os. This is often a good idea because it reduces costs for some operations on different hardware. if you want to run some OS specific software then creating VMs will save you a big time. A Virtual Machine autometically configures the environment for an OS which remos complexity. Many a time using a VM can also serve your purpose to learn something new. Like, Say you have an Windows operating system, but if you wanna learn Linux then simply you can create a VM with Linux image and test it out.
- Easier software installations: Sometime software vendors will ship their entire software package as a VM rather than installing on a user specific OS. For example, installing a complete mail server solution on a real machine can be a tedious task
- Software Testing and Recovery: Software Developers often use restricted or virtualized environments to test their software compatibility with other platforms. In a VM one can provide limit the amount of resources like RAM or memory and thereby testing their software performance to understand their behavior, log software crashes etc. In Computer Security, it is often a practise to install different OS and find out the Vulnerabilities in a system or understand the behavior of malware under static or dynamic conditions. In case things go wrong, you can simply erase the VM and create a new one, thereby preventing any uncessary changes to the Host OS.
- Infrastructure consolidation: Virtualization can cut down hardware and electricity costs. Most of the time, computers nowadays are able to use only a fraction of their computational power and have low average system loads. Instead of running processes across many physical computers which are only partially used, it is beneficial to pack many virtual machines onto a few powerful hosts and balance the loads between them.