Open source virtualization is the use of modifiable software to create a virtual operating system on a computer. This software often is free and able to be downloaded on the Internet. One of the biggest advantages of open source virtualization software is its ability to be modified to perform certain functions. For example, the source code can be changed to meet specific needs in maintaining the security and integrity of a computer system.
Open source virtualization software allows a guest operating system, sometimes called a virtual machine, to be installed on a computer. The software in essence creates a virtual operating system. The main operating system is used to host this virtual system. This kind of system eliminates the need for numerous computers, and it can save money, time and space.
One use for this software is to allow Macintosh and Windows® programs to run on the same computer. This is fairly common in offices that run graphics software, for example. Being able to access both operating systems on the same computer can save a lot of time for employees.
After it is installed and running, the open source virtualization software can allow each computer to access any of the operating systems on the network. This means various operating systems such as Linux or Windows®, for example, would be accessible at the same time. The software-created virtual computer can be used to perform the same functions as a regular computer.
This software even can be used as a test drive to see how an existing system will work with virtualization software. It can prevent making an investment in something that might not work. If it does not work, it simply can be removed.
Another advantage of using open source virtualization is that it can create virtual computer servers. This can help save energy by eliminating the need to buy additional hardware for servers. In some cases, licenses to run the software must be purchased.
A virtual machine also is easier to “upgrade.” There is no need to take apart equipment and install additional pieces of hardware. Instead, changes or updates can be made through the software.
Open source virtualization software is not always the perfect solution. It takes time to design a concept for how the virtual machines will fit into a network. There also can be a learning curve for staff members. If employees have difficulty with a current system, introducing more layers might add to their confusion. Finally, a free software program can be tricky to install and might have limited support for troubleshooting.