Virtualization is a proven software technology that is rapidly transforming the IT landscape and fundamentally changing the way that people compute.
Today’s powerful x86 computer hardware was originally designed to run only a single operating system and a single application, but virtualization breaks that bond, making it possible to run multiple operating systems and multiple applications on the same computer at the same time, increasing the utilization and flexibility of hardware.
In essence, virtualization lets you transform hardware into software. Use software such as VMware ESX Server to transform or “virtualize” the hardware resources of an x86-based computer—including the CPU, RAM, hard disk and network controller—to create a fully functional virtual machine that can run its own operating system and applications just like a “real” computer.
Multiple virtual machines share hardware resources without interfering with each other so that you can safely run several operating systems and applications at the same time on a single computer.
The VMware approach to virtualization inserts a thin layer of software directly on the computer hardware or on a host operating system. This software layer creates virtual machines and contains a virtual machine monitor or “hypervisor” that allocates hardware resources dynamically and transparently so that multiple operating systems can run concurrently on a single physical computer without even knowing it.
However, virtualizing a single physical computer is just the beginning. VMware offers a robust virtualization platform that can scale across hundreds of interconnected physical computers and storage devices to form an entire virtual infrastructure.