Overview of Virtual Machines


Purpose: To provide a brief overview of virtual machines.

You may be instructed to use virtual machines (VMs) to complete some of your coursework. A VM is software that thinks it is a real computer. LSC uses a piece of software called VMWare vCloud to create and manage VMs. Many VMs can be installed on a single computer, even if they use different operating systems. You can even have more than one VM running at the same time if your computer is powerful enough.

When you start a VM, it will boot up and look just like an operating system installed on a real computer; you will be able to do anything with it that you could do on a real physical computer. It is great exposure for students to learn to use VMs, as they are becoming increasingly common in the IT workplace.

Using VMs offers many benefits over traditional "bare metal" OS installations, including lower hardware requirements, decreased power consumption, ease of management, and faster deployment.

Terminology: It is important to understand the following terms related to VMs and vCloud.

  • Virtualization: The process of running multiple operating systems on one physical computer.

  • Hypervisor: The software that creates, manages, and runs VMs.

  • Console: The "window" through which one interacts with virtual machines in vCloud.

  • vApp: A collection of VMs owned by one user. Students generally receive one vApp per CIS class in which they are enrolled.

  • Host Machine: The physical computer, acting as a hypervisor, upon which VMs are run.

  • Guest Machine: A specific instance of a virtual machine.