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.
The world of IT (Information Technology) has come a long way in the past 5-10 years and one of the greatest advancements in this field has to be that of virtualizing computers and servers in order to save IT administrators a lot of time and their companies a lot of money when it comes to building their backend systems. And now we can even go beyond virtualizing computers and virtualize our networks as well.
Since virtualization allows us to run multiple computers (machines) on one piece of hardware it makes it's easy to set up multiple systems quickly and also allows a way for us to set up “test” systems that we can use for our labs to test out new software and operating systems. Then when we are done, we simply wipe out that test system and it was like it was never there.
Since virtualization is so common within organizations, it was just a matter of time before it was implemented on a smaller scale so we could use it on our desktops. Now we have software like VirtualBox and VMware Workstation that allow us to create multiple virtual machines within one physical machine (your desktop computer) and even let them communicate with each other via their virtual networks.
The goal of this book is to get you comfortable using Oracle VirtualBox without confusing and irritating you at the same time. I find that if you explain things like someone is a total beginner, even if they are not, it makes that topic much easier to understand, and that is the way this book was written—so that anyone can make sense of the content without feeling lost.