A virtual machine (VM) is a software-based computer that exists within another computer’s operating system, often used for the purposes of testing, backing up data, or running SaaS applications.
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What are virtual machines used for?
Common use cases for virtual machines on single computers include:
Testing – Software developers often want to test their applications in different environments. They can use virtual machines to run their applications in various OSes on one computer. This is simpler and more cost-effective than testing on several different physical machines.
Running software designed for other OSes – Although certain software applications are only available for a single platform, a VM can run software designed for a different OS. For example, a Mac user who wants to run software designed for Windows can run a Windows VM on their Mac host.
Running outdated software – Some pieces of older software can’t be run in modern OSes. Users who want to run these applications can run an old OS on a virtual machine.
Browser isolation – Browser isolation is the practice of ‘isolating’ web browser activity away from the rest of a computer’s operating system to keep malware from affecting the computer’s other files and programs. Some broswer isolation tools use VMs to establish this isolation — though this approach can slow down browsing activity.
How does cloud computing use virtual machines?
Several cloud providers offer virtual machines to their customers. These virtual machines typically live on powerful servers that can act as a host to multiple VMs and can be used for a variety of reasons that wouldn’t be practical with a locally-hosted VM. These include:
Running SaaS applications – Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS for short, is a cloud-based method of providing software to users, in which an application is served to user over the Internet rather than running on their computers. Often, it is virtual machines in the cloud that do the computation for SaaS applications as well as delivering them to users. If the cloud provider has a geographically distributed network edge, then the application will run closer to the user, resulting in faster performance.
Backing up data – Cloud-based VM services are popular for backing up data, because the data can be accessed from anywhere. Plus, cloud VMs provide better redundancy, require less maintenance, and generally scale better than physical data centers. (For example, it’s relatively easy to buy an extra gigabyte of storage space from a cloud VM provider, but much more difficult to build a new local data server for that extra gigabyte of data.)
Hosting services like email and access management – Hosting these services on cloud VMs is generally faster and more cost-effective, and helps minimize maintenance and offload security concerns as well.
Browswer isolation – Some browser isolation tools use cloud VMs to run web broswing activity and deliver safe content to users via a secure Internet connection
Cloud Virtual Machine (CVM) provides you with secure and flexible computing capabilities. You can enable CVM in the cloud in just minutes to meet your diverse computing needs. Through CVM, you can easily scale up or down your computing resources as your business needs change. Billed based on your actual resource consumption, CVM reduces your computing costs and simplifies IT-related OPS.