The present has discussed virtual machines in IT contexts, their benefits, as well as their drawbacks or limitations. Drawing from the discussion, it is concluded that virtue machines provide immense benefits to firms in the IT industry, though more work needs to be done to ensure the security and reliability of these machines.
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Although the concept of virtue machines first came into the limelight during the 1960s when technology firms led by IBM attempted to create a system that could avail concurrent and interactive access to a mainframe computer, its development has been lukewarm until some few years ago when the inherent benefits of the concept became more pronounced (Ali & Meghanathan, 2011).
Today, the interest in virtue machines has grown tremendously as firms in the information technology (IT) come to terms with the unending possibilities presented by the concept. The present paper discusses virtual machines in IT contexts, their benefits, as well as their drawbacks or limitations.
A virtual machine has been described in the literature as an efficient and isolated imitation of an actual machine (Bradbury, 2008), or a replica of the original physical machine which provides users with numerous computing possibilities that appear to be running directly on the physical computer (Kotsovinos, 2011).
Virtue machines are divided into two main categories (system and process) based on their utilization and level of correspondence to any physical machine, with available literature demonstrating that a system virtual machine avails a complete system platform which sustains the execution of a complete operating system, while a process virtual machine is designed to run a single system and hence can only support a single process (Pearce, Zeadally, & Hunt, 2013).
Some of the important virtualization tools used to run virtue machines in contemporary times include Virtue Network User Mode Linux (VNUML), VMware Server, Virtual Box, Qemu, and Xen.
While VNUML enables multiple Linux-based operating systems (guests) to be run as applications within the normal Linux system (host), hence providing users with the capacity to run and manage multiple virtual Linux machines on a single piece of hardware, VMware allows a physical computer to host several virtual machines with different operating systems.
Additionally, while the Virtual Box tool deploys virtual machines destined to desktop computers and enterprise servers, Qemu manages and executes virtual machines under Linux or Windows (Ali & Meghanathan, 2011).
In terms of benefits, available literature demonstrates that “virtualization is often touted as the solution to many challenging problems, from resource underutilization to data-center optimization and carbon emission reduction” (Kotsovinos, 2011, p. 61).
Additionally, virtual machines also provide users with the capacity to (1) isolate processes and functions using available infrastructure, (2) share resources as is the case in cloud computing, (3) enhance the manageability of the enterprise infrastructure, (4) minimize costs without compromising quality of service, (5) allow a considerably large infrastructure to be run in a more flexible manner, and (6) enhance developer productivity and minimize time to market, which is important in today’s fast-moving business environment (Ali & Meghanathan, 2011; Kotsovinos, 2011).
Lastly, in terms of drawbacks, many users worry about the security of virtue machines as there is a possibility that the framework could be used to deliver malware to client personal computers with the view to stealing important data or information (Bradbury, 2008; Pearce et al., 2013). According to these authors, users of virtual machines are also not sure about how reliable it is to put all of their virtual machines on one physical box, as a failure of the hardware or components would obviously result in massive data losses and other disastrous outcomes.
Drawing from this discussion, it can be concluded that virtue machines provide immense benefits to firms in the IT industry, though more work needs to be done to ensure the security and reliability of these machines.
Ali, I., & Meghanathan, N. (2011). Virtual machines and networks – Installation, performance, study, advantages and virtualization options. International Journal of Network Security & Its Applications, 3(1), 1-15.
Bradbury, D. (2008). Virtually secure? Engineering & Technology, 3(19), 54-55.
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Kotsovinos, E. (2011). Virtualization: Blessing or curse. Communications of the ACM, 54(1), 61-65.
Pearce, M., Zeadally, S., & Hunt, R. (2013). Virtualization: Issues, security threats, and systems. ACM Computing Systems, 45(2), 17-17:39.