Virtual Machines

A virtual machine (VM) is software which permits the user to run an independent operating system as an application, essentially creating a computer inside of a computer. The same way that your computer would run a word processor or a browser, it can run an entire operating system as a large application.

According to this article, a virtual machine (VM) is an operating system OS or application environment that is installed on software which imitates dedicated hardware. The end user has the same experience on a virtual machine as they would have on dedicated hardware.

If you think of VM operation along these lines, the setup and operation is more sensible and less intimidating. As with any application, running a VM has a couple of systems requirements.

Things to Consider When Running a Virtual Machine

Disk space

Just like any application software, a VM has its own requirements. You will want enough storage available to install an entire operating system and the applications software which will be running on it. While it is possible to resize a VM after it has been created, such a prospect is considered highly advanced, and if possible should be avoided. Allocate enough disk space and then some to avoid running out of space.

Memory requirement. A host computer with a virtual machine requires enough memory to run both operating systems simultaneously. The prefered approach is not to rely on swap space since the actual operation of the VM is slowed down considerably without enough memory.

Clone storage

One of the first things you need to do after creating your VM and performing the basic installation of the operating system and applications software which will run in the virtual machine, is to back it up, normally called cloning. Cloning the VM means that you can restore it to the point at which the clone was made at any time. This is useful if you are test driving software which has security or stability concerns.

License keys for the virtual machine’s operating system and applications. If you install an operating system and applications in a virtual machine, it is the same thing as installing them natively on a new computer. If you are going to use the operating system and applications software you need to have license keys and enter them the normal way when prompted during installation.


For more information on the finer points of virtual machines, please contact us.

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