What you need to know about ‘Virtualisation’


What you need to know about ‘Virtualisation’

Things can get very complicated when you start talking about virtual computers, cloud products, containerisation, etc. So lets break virtualisation down into a few key concepts, so you can understand whether or not this may be of benefit to you and your business.

Your operating system is a Program / App

Whether it’s Windows, Mac or Linux, the operating system itself is essentially a piece of software, a program, or application! Its main purpose is to have the ability to run other applications, as well as its core functions that you know and (hopefully) love.

The Operating System you is initially started by a smaller computer that exists on your Motherboard itself, called the BIOS (Basic Input Output System). The BIOS detects everything hardware, then learns where there are ‘boot disks’, or the instructions to start/open an operating system, then it starts the Windows/Mac program for the much preferable user interface it offers.

So, the only reason your Windows machine knows that a USB drive is connected to it is because the BIOS has detected and passed it over the OS. So what happens if there is another program that pretends to be a motherboard/BIOS?

The virtual ‘Platform’

Here is a bit of a step by step that explains how I could run a Windows application on my Mac computer:

  1. I turn on my Mac. The power button tells the Motherboard to fire up, detect everything connected to it, and look for the Operating system, which is MacOS Mojave.
  2. Now that I’m running the MacOS Mojave – essentially a program, remember, to run other programs. – I go and find my preferred Virtual Computer software (See Virtualbox or Parallels)
  3. I load my Virtual Windows program. In this case Parallels is a program that pretends to be a Motherboard. It pretends to have RAM, a CPU, and a Hard Drive – all of which I’ve configured to be shared from my Mac. Of the 256gb hard drive, 64gb are dedicated to the Windows virtual machine, which Parallels presents to it as a pretend hard drive – right down to the boot / start up instructions.
  4. Parallels is synonymous with the Motherboard – it configures the virtual devices, and looks for the Operating System I installed into the 64gb part of my Hard drive – to load Windows
  5. I’m now running the ‘Windows’ program – which has little to no idea it is running virtually on a mac – and able to run any other applications, which all can barely tell the difference!

Sounds interesting (and still complicated). Why should I care?

Hardware is always a risk. When things are physically made, they normally need a lot of physical solutions. You need to store those computers somewhere in the building. You need to physically replace the hardware if it starts to malfunction. Your environment can effect the longevity of the device. Your new staff member could spill something on it. The real world for a computer is scary!

Many companies are transitioning to using Virtual computers because it offers a separation of some of the responsibility. For example, if we had your File Server running as a virtual server in our data centre, for you it would make no difference – you use it exactly as you always would have. But that File Server is running as a piece of software on a much larger, enterprise machine in a temperature and particle controlled environment. That larger enterprise machine is taking regular backups of the entire File Server, and if the File Server has a problem, another digital File Server can be created rapidly and have all the same data, ready to use.

If you need to scale up, and want to maintain overall cost effectiveness for your data security and IT management, virtualisation can be the solution for you.

If you want to know more about how it can help your business, get in touch today!

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