What is a Virtual Machine?
A Virtual Machine or a VM is a separate instance of operating system(OS) on a host physical computer in addition to host machine’s own OS, as if it were on a different computer or a guest. A host can emulate several guests, each of which can emulate different operating systems.
Host, guest and hypervisor
The computer that is running the virtual machine is called the host whereas the program that controls virtual machines is called a hypervisor. Virtual machines can be created through software known as virtualization software. Some of the popularly used virtualization softwares are Virtualbox and VMware.
What VMs offer its users?
A VM can be easily created, modified and destroyed. We can also create and delete snapshot on a VM. A snapshot preserves the state and data of a virtual machine at a specific point in time. VM provides the flexibility to create and delete snapshots which takes a few minutes of time.
With the popularity of cloud services, cloud-based VMs use is in demand which can be accessed over an internet using a web browser. These VMs are created on a physical machine which is located at a different geographical location, which can be accessed remotely and shared by multiple users(not in parallel though) in a larger organization to make the process more agile.