A virtual machine is an efficient, isolated duplicate of a real machine. Virtualization is one area where the SMB’s and other firms would want to get the maximum out of them.
Looking at the recession after-effects, virtualization may provide big relief to the firms which focus on cost-cutting measures. The virtual technology has emerged out to be the most cost effective and unbelievingly reliable way for many of the SMBs.
SMBs aside, I want the common people to exploit this domain for their personal use. This post will not be dealing with the high end commercial wares but will be concerned with the basic know-how and free ware available on the internet.
Available and Free!
There are numerous virtual machine software products on the net, and they are for free. Some of them are listed below:
Virtual PC 2007 – microsoft (not recommended by me)
The first thing you notice here is its simple GUI, but the prime drawback is that it does not support any non-microsoft OS. That’s all I have to say about this ware.
VirtualBox – sun (now oracle) (my number one)
Sun Microsystems (now oracle) also offers a very good virtual machine which supports almost all of the operating systems. It’s a pretty good package according to my experience and has a very easy interfacing too.
Need any more reason? VirtualBox allows your Virtual Machine to use your graphics card for 3D acceleration…which allows you to have the Special Effects!! So why not use VirtualBox from SUN (now oracle) instead of using Virtual PC from Microsoft?
VMware Player – vmware (a good one)
Before it could just run virtual machines, couldn’t create them. But from version 3.0 this vmware player has got capability to create and run them, an improvement which discourages me from spending 200 bucks on vmware workstation!
With the player you may not get many powerful features, such as Teams, multiple Snapshots and Clones, or Virtual Rights Management features for end-point security.
QEMU (my second try)
It’s an open source processor emulator that relies on dynamic binary translation to achieve a reasonable speed while being easy to port on new host CPU architectures.
It’s not a GUI, and so many may avoid this emulator, but it is powerful. QEMU supports the emulation of various architectures, including IA-32 (x86) PCs, x86-64 PCs, MIPS R4000, Sun’s SPARC sun4m, Sun’s SPARC sun4u, ARM development boards (Integrator/CP and Versatile/PB), SH4 SHIX board, PowerPC (PReP and Power Macintosh), ETRAX CRIS and MicroBlaze architectures. The QEMU homepage provides a complete list of supported architectures.
Hope you now have the power of choice! Do you often use virtual machine? Tell me which one is it and how is your experience?
Thanks for your comments!
Coming soon: What can you do with a virtual machine?
- Open Source Virtualization (slideshare.net)