Virtualization is the process of running one or more computers on or within another computer, commonly referred to as the host computer. These virtual machines (VMs) use the hardware resources of the host such as its CPU, RAM and hard drive space. They can also share the host’s network connection to get to the internet and communicate with other virtual machines or the host itself.
There are many companies who provide virtualization software such as Microsoft with their Hyper-V platform, Oracle with their free VirtualBox software and of course VMware with their vSphere hypervisor which is probably the most widely used virtualization platform today.
VMware also offers home and small business users a way to virtualize their computers and servers without needing to purchase expensive software and high powered physical severs to run it on. They do offer free virtualization software known as VMware Player which will let you run one virtual machine at a time but for those who want to get a little more serious, they have their VMware Workstation Professional software which will let you run as many VMs as your physical computer can handle.
If you plan on getting into virtualization or have a need to do testing on computers without risking damage to your main PC (host), then this is definitely the way to go and for the home user, you can’t beat VMware Workstation when it comes to performance and features.