University of Oregon

What is virtualization?

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Simply put, virtualization is a method of running multiple operating systems on a single physical computer.

In other words

On traditional computers and servers there is one set of software running on one set of hardware. With virtualization, multiple sets of software can be organized into virtual computers, or containers, that run on a single computer. (See the diagram, above). This means a computer can have one set of hardware for multiple computers to serve multiple needs and multiple groups.

Why virtualize?

Virtualization maximizes the investment in hardware.

Virtualization is green in that it reduces the number of independent servers that may be running at a very small fraction of its ability and thus unnecessarily consuming energy and producing heat that in turn requires additional air conditioning.

Virtual machines provisioned by Information Services are backed up, stored in an appropriately climate-controlled data center with backup power, air-conditioning and network. The hardware and environment are also maintained by professional technical staff.