Virtual machines have been a steadily growing innovation in the digital scene, but there has been a recent boom in the market that isn’t seeing any signs of slowing down soon. Analytics from Future Market Insights reveals that the global market value for virtual machines is expected to hit a colossal $177.3 billion by 2033, with an expected CAGR of 20.3% in 2023 alone.
As the cloud and AI become even more prominent in a steadily expanding IT landscape, it’s only fitting that virtual machine adoption will continue to grow. To understand the relevance and potential impact this has on the industry, it’s a good idea to dive into how exactly virtual machines work in the first place.
What is a Virtual Machine?
As one may gather from its name, a virtual machine is essentially a virtual computer inside a physical host computer. In simpler terms, it’s a computer inside of a computer but mainly exists as a software emulation that works independently from the physical computer. This means it has its own operating system, memory, storage, and “environment” to work within.
Because it operates within its own environment, you can run multiple operating systems and run various tests, applications, and conditions without needing a separate piece of hardware. You’ll often find that businesses make use of virtual machines take advantage of these capabilities to maximize operations without needing as many resources. It also makes data accessibility and recovery a simpler task.
Virtual machines also have a lot of potential when it comes to machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Its very nature allows for a safe testing environment where you can train systems and try different deployments without worrying about challenges in reproducing or analyzing results afterward. They basically enable developers to build data models and configure them with ease.
How is a Virtual Machine Used?
A guide to virtual machines on MongoDB goes into great detail about how they work. In essence, a virtual machine does not interact with the physical machine hosting it and vice versa. This is an important factor to note as it means they do not “cannibalize” each other’s resources.
There are different forms of virtualization, which the guide goes into as application, desktop, network, hardware, storage, data, data center, GPU, Linux, and cloud virtualization. Each of these will have its own distinct patterns, but there are general aspects that can help you understand how it all works.
Because the machine has its own virtual hardware, it can run different “components” as needed thanks to a software called the hypervisor. The hypervisor enables the machine to run like a physical computer without interference, even as you add different layers. When used with VMM software, you get an interface that separates the physical hardware while still allowing the virtual machine to pull resources from it. So, whenever your virtual machine needs resources, it gets what’s necessary without interrupting computing cycles.
Of course, there are further intricacies that will depend on the specific virtualization you need. Overall, a virtual machine just uses a dedicated portion of the host machine to do more tasks than would be possible with just the physical computer.
Why are Virtual Machines Popular?
Virtual machines are quickly joining the likes of extended reality and the Internet of Things as ‘The Most Important Technology for the Future’. The growing popularity of this system can largely be attributed to the need for more scalability and cybersecurity.
Right now, the digital age is seeing massive amounts of data produced, accessed, and altered every day. Software updates are also coming in faster and in shorter periods of release. Only halfway through 2023, we are already seeing 328.77 million terabytes of data created each day.
On top of that, Infosecurity Magazine reports that global cyberattacks have risen by 7% in the first quarter of 2023. For the most attacked sectors, that means an average of around 2,507 attacks per organization per week.
Virtual machines work as great solutions for both of those major concerns. In terms of cybersecurity, they provide great sandbox environments that offer isolation and analysis. This makes for a great means to prevent future attacks, recover any lost data, and potentially establish secure remote access. As for scalability, virtual machines are inherently flexible and enable users to balance loads and optimize resources as you get multiple machines in just one physical server. Their popularity has been very well-warranted so far, and it only seems to be looking up from here.