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virtualization

A variety of technologies for managing computer resources by providing a software interface, known as an "abstraction layer," between the software (operating system and applications) and the hardware. Virtualization turns "physical" RAM and storage into "logical" resources. Following are the ways virtualization is used. See logical vs. physical.

Hardware Virtualization
Partitioning the computer's memory into separate and isolated "virtual machines" simulates multiple machines within one physical computer. It enables multiple copies of the same or different operating systems to run in the computer and also prevents applications from interfering with each other. See virtual machine and OS virtualization.

Network and Storage Virtualization
In a network, virtualization consolidates multiple devices into a logical view so they can be managed from a single console (see network virtualization). Virtualization also enables multiple storage devices to be accessed the same way no matter what their type or location (see storage virtualization).

Application Virtualization
Computer people love the word "virtualization," and vendors use the term for virtually anything. Numerous technologies fall under the umbrella of "application virtualization," some of which have been around for decades, while others are at the forefront. See application virtualization.






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