A concept that you have come across in the crypto world is virtual machine, known as VM. A virtual machine is in fact used
widely in this world. However, we understand that you are probably not yet familiar with this concept. So, what is a virtual machine, and what is it used for?
What is a Virtual Machine?
It is not easy to explain what a virtual machine is. At first glance, it may sound rather vague. Just imagine a computer. You probably have a laptop that runs Windows or Mac OS. Linux could of course also work. We call this software the Operating System (OS). It is the software that allows people to control the hardware.
Without an Operating System it is not possible to use your computer or laptop. However, you do not always need hardware to run an Operating System. And that is exactly what the virtual machine is. A virtual machine is an Operating System that runs within an Operating System.
You can then control a computer within your own laptop. However, it does not run on hardware, but on the Operating System of your own laptop or computer. Well-known software with which you can set up a virtual machine is VMware or VirtualBox. When you open this software, you must first choose which operating system you would like to use.
Do you have a laptop with Windows? Then you can also choose to open a virtual machine with Mac OS. A window will then open in which you can operate a machine with Mac OS.
What is a virtual machine used for?
It all sounds nice and nice, but what should you use a virtual machine for? When people need a different operating system, they can use a virtual machine. Just think of a developer who has a laptop with Mac OS, and would like to test his new program in a Windows environment. He could buy a new laptop with Windows for this, or use a virtual machine.
Virtual Machines for Business
But many larger organizations and companies also use virtual machines. Virtual machines ensure that employees can work much more efficiently. A company can also choose to install virtual machines on a server. Employees can then log in to their own virtual machine from their own laptop via a VPN connection.
The advantage is that companies could store the right software and documents on one and the same server. This is efficient, but also creates more safety. Companies can then scan all virtual machines on the server for malware and vulnerabilities. Subsequently, the company can also solve the problems faster.
Can also be used at universities and schools
But they can also use virtual machines at universities and schools. Schools can install the virtual machines on their server, after which students with a connection can use the virtual machine. In this way, schools can better keep track of what is happening and offer the right teaching materials.
You could also use a virtual machine. You may have come across software that was not suitable for your operating system. To compress! But of course you could have just downloaded a virtual machine for the correct OS so that you could still use the software.
As you can see, there are so many user options for virtual machines. You can actually think of it that way, or a virtual machine could have a function in it.
Dockers and containers
When we talk about virtual machines, we should of course also talk about dockers and containers. We want to state that a docker and container mean exactly the same thing. However, both names are used, which sometimes causes confusion. In the following we will therefore speak of dockers, to avoid confusion.
The principle of a docker is basically the same as that of a virtual machine. With a docker you can open a specific program that needs a certain OS. So you don’t have to download the entire operating system. And that can be a big advantage compared to a virtual machine.
The difference between a docker and virtual machine
You may already know the difference between a docker and a virtual machine. With a virtual machine you install the entire OS. Even when you only use the virtual machine for one specific program. A virtual machine can take up a lot of space. And that is why such a virtual machine is not useful in any case.
With a docker you don’t install an entire operating system, but you make sure that a specific program can be opened with the OS that is needed for that program. A docker can therefore be used for much more specific cases.
If you want to use different programs within a certain OS, it is of course much better to install a virtual machine. Otherwise, you’d have to install a separate docker for each program, which isn’t exactly practical.
Virtual machines and blockchain
But what is the link between virtual machines and cryptocurrencies/ blockchain . Many nodes run on a virtual machine. To participate as a node in a blockchain you often need a certain OS. Of course you can buy a machine with this operating system, but it is much easier and cheaper to use a virtual machine.
Nodes are the devices that make up the network of the blockchain. They ensure that everything runs according to the rules and that transactions are validated. Without these nodes, you would not be able to make a transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Do you want to participate in a blockchain yourself? Check out how this works on the blockchain website. There are always requirements to be able to participate. And if necessary, you now know how to use a virtual machine for this.
Thanh Lanh Tran(1989) is Chief Editor from BitcoinUSD.com