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Virtual operating environment which runs inside a hypervisor such as Hyper-V and simulates with software the functionality of a physical computer.

Virtual Machines require substantial compute resource overhead since hardware services and functions are simulated inside software running on top of a physical host operating environment.  Virtual Machines provide much more flexibility to the administrator and the advantages overcome the extra cost of compute resources.

Advantages include:

  • Better use of server hardware since multiple Virtual Machines can run on a single physical host
  • Disaster recovery is simpler given the flexibility of Virtual Machines.  VMs can be migrated or replicated to redundant and remote hosts since there are no physical hardware components
  • Flexibility of upgrading and developing application software since VMs can be replicated as development and test environments
  • VM technology includes snapshots so an entire system can be backed up quickly and easily
  • Hardware upgrades are simplified since VMs can be moved from host to host, even with each host has difference in configurations and sizes