09 December 2021

Choosing Between a Virtual or Physical Computer

Submitted by Lisl Whytock
Choosing Between a Virtual or Physical Computer

Shortly after rolling out Windows 11, Microsoft introduced Windows 365, which ushered in a new era of hybrid personal computing and paved the way for the world’s first Cloud PC. The ability to use secure technology to work from different locations and over different devices has become a necessity. This is why Windows 365 is so exciting for users considering a virtual computer.

What is a Virtual Machine (VM)?
A virtual machine is very much like your standard desktop, laptop, smartphone, or server in terms of having a CPU, memory and being able to connect to the internet. However, while the parts of your computer may be tangible, virtual machines are computer files that behave like a proper computer.

In short, a virtual machine is a virtual representation of a physical computer and is often referred to as a Guest. The Physical machine on which they run is called the Host. A VM requires a software layer called a hypervisor to interact directly with a physical computer in order to allocate the necessary resources.

What are Virtual Machines Used for?
Virtualisation is exciting because it enables the creation of multiple VM’s on one machine. In addition, each VM can have its own Operating System (OS) and apps. VM’s are also used by designers and testers to test new software and applications and are very useful for researching malicious programmes. VM’s can also assist with backing up your OS and running incompatible software on certain systems that don't usually allow for it.

What are the Benefits of Using a Virtual Machine?
• Lower costs – savings can be achieved by running multiple virtual environments from one physical system.
• Less time wasted – virtualisation improves the process of running test and development scenarios. It is much simpler to create a VM than to build a new environment for your developers to use.
• Less downtime – due to their easy portability, virtual machines can quickly be moved if the host goes down.
• Increased flexibility – it is easy to add on additional servers, whether they need to be physical or virtual.
• Increased security – because a virtual machine is a file, it can easily be scanned for viruses and other malicious software, making recovering from malware infections quicker.

Choosing a virtual machine over a physical one boils down to understanding what you need. While physical devices provide the hardware and power, they also operate in isolation without the benefit of virtualisation.

If your workload demands extreme flexibility and scalability, you should consider a virtual machine to increase capacity, divide workloads, and resize your data.

For further information regarding the benefits of virtual machines, contact Westech, South Africa’s preferred IT support and services partner.

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