Virtual machines are not new and have been in use for well over a half century. The fundamental concept of a virtual machine revolves around a software application that behaves as if it were its own computer. The VM application (“guest”) runs its own self-contained operating system within the actual machine (“host”). This virtual operating system can be of almost any variant of design. Perhaps put more simply, it can be described as a virtual computer running inside a physical computer. One of the benefits of virtual machines is the ability for a virtual machine to operate on nearly any underlying hardware and software configuration. In this manner, there is an ease of flexibility of sharing and duplication of virtual machines for many purposes, such as software testing. Additionally, one host machine (the actual computer) can run multiple guest machines (virtual machines) at the same time. A visual example of a virtual machine running on a host system is shown below
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