Virtualization is the creation of something virtual in the place of having the actual physical hardware or machine (Epstein, 2011). It is a “combination of software and hardware engineering that creates Virtual Machines,” which are “an abstraction of the computer hardware that allows a single machine to act as if it were many machines” (Burger, 2008). Some of the forms that the virtual version takes include network resources, storage devices, operating systems, and hardware platforms (Epstein).
Some of the benefits offered by virtualization are increased company profits and growth rate; ensured business continuity; responsiveness to changing business needs; application availability; backup and data protection; and reduced time that’s spent on routine IT administrative tasks (VMWare, 2009).
Three of the virtual environments available in the industry are VirtualBox, Windows Virtual PC, and VMWare.
VirtualBox is free and is an open source software. It is capable of performing the following: supporting virtual server environments; providing remote access to guest virtual machines from anywhere; supporting non-Windows operating systems; enabling multi-tier applications and cross-platforms; running more than one operating system on one computer at the same time; sharing and publishing appliances with other virtualization platforms; and handling workloads of up to 32 vCPUs (Singh, 2009).
Windows Virtual PC, on the other hand, has the following features: easy setup of the Windows XP mode; printer redirection; clipboard sharing; folder integration between host and guest; seamless applications; and USB support (Microsoft, 2012). It is free and can be easily downloaded by Windows users.
VMware is a paid application. It has numerous features, but its key features are the following: enhanced packaging support ecosystem; registry transaction protection; performance accelerator; relink; full support for Windows 7; seamless virtual and native browser experience; and application management (VMWare, 2012).
As a student and a Windows user, the writer would choose to use Windows Virtual PC as it’s free, is simple to implement, and simple to use. However, if it were for a small-to-medium sized business then the writer would choose VirtualBox as it has robust features yet is free and is open source.
Burger, T. (2008). The advantages of using virtualization technology in the enterprise. Retrieved from http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/the-advantages-of-using-virtualization-technology-in-the-enterprise/
Epstein, J. (2011). What is virtualization?. Retrieved from http://virtualization.tmcnet.com/topics/virtualization/articles/173416-what-virtualization.htm
Microsoft. (2012). Windows virtual features. Retrieved from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/features/default.aspx
Singh, T. (2009). VirtualBox 3.1 killer features. Retrieved from http://geeknizer.com/virtualbox-3-1-features/
VMWare. (2009). The benefits of virtualization for small and medium businesses: VMWare SMB survey results. Retrieved from http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/
VMWare. (2012). VMWare ThinApp. Retrieved from http://www.vmware.com/products/thinapp/features.html