So, moving towards our Virtualization Series. Suppose that you are working in the IT branch of a major organization that sells smart-watches everywhere throughout the world. The CEO is interested to save money and requests an approach to spend less on IT hardware yet at the same time needs workers to have the option to use a system that can get to the organization’s documents any place they are on the planet. This is the thing that virtualization does best.

From previous understanding, you know virtualization as a technique to transform one hardware into numerous usable virtual machines, so taking the above example here, you conclude that making virtual machines for the employees is your best alternative, however which hypervisor addresses your issues in this situation? Having every employee installed Fusion (for Mac) or Workstation (for the other working frameworks, for example, Windows or Linux) on the systems doesn’t generally eliminate the measure of genuine hardware the organization needs to purchase.

This is the place the Bare Metal Hypervisor turns out to be inconceivably helpful. In our example above, the organization has a few huge systems called servers. With endorsement from the CEO, you buy Type 1 bare metal hypervisor ESXi licenses or any other  and programs from VMware or any other company and install them onto the servers.

Now, instead of burning through cash on obtaining different systems and operating systems for every worker, ESXi utilizes the hardware you have and makes virtual machines for every one of the employees to get to. For example, Salesman Bob simply needs to sign in to the organization’s server with his thin client and he will have a virtual machine accessible to him with all the organization’s documents on various clock models and costs.

Note : A thin client is a lightweight computer that has been optimized for remoting into a server-based computing environment. The server does most of the work, which can include launching software programs, crunching numbers, and storing data. (Source : Wikipedia)

At home, Bob owns a Windows laptop that he likes to use for listening to music and blogging. Sometimes he lets his kids use his laptop to play Minecraft after they finish their homework.

Recently, Bob’s son accidentally deleted some important documents on Bob’s laptop. Instead of banning his kids from using his laptop to play their favorite game, Bob decided to create a virtual machine for the kids to use so that their actions don’t affect the real machine. Unfortunately, Bob does not have servers at home like there are at the company he works for. The good thing is, he only needs to create one VM for each of his kids, which is way less VMs to manage than at the company. To virtualize his Windows laptop, Bob downloads a Type 2 hypervisor, in this case, VMware Workstation or Oracle Virtual Box.

With VMware or Virtual Box, Bob can make a VM for his children to use when they are on his system as opposed to them interfacing with the real hardware, they are just associating with virtualized hardware.

As of now, the idea or concept of a hypervisor has been completed from the point of technology and we discussed about VMware’s two sorts of hypervisors, ESXi and VMware Workstation. There are different brands of hypervisors which are available too. The Type 1 Bare metal Oracle VM Server and Microsoft Hyper-V and the Type 2 Hosted VirtualBox and QEMU are a couple of examples.

There is additionally an interest for hypervisor technology from individual users. For example, many users need to run more than one operating system on their system. This normally is required when you need to run an application that requires an alternate operating system to keep running than the system’s default OS.

To run an application that requires an alternate operating system, you would have to partition the hard drive, set up a dual boot and select which OS to boot up. The drawback to this is that just one operating system can be used at one time, which implies that if you want to use an application on the other operating system, you need to shut down the system and reboot it with the other OS.

This is the place a Type 2 hypervisor is of worth. Keep in mind, a Type 2 hypervisor keeps running over the host system’s operating system. This enables a user to run the system’s OS and applications while additionally having the option to use a virtual machine’s applications simultaneously. A Type 2 Hosted hypervisor gives the best of both scenarios by taking into account both virtualized and non-virtualized utilization of a system simultaneously.

Hackers or Programmers love having a Type 2 hypervisor installed in their system as it gives them a functionality to test their code in various computer operating systems and if something is not right with the code and the system breaks, they can simply shutdown the virtual machine and try again by restarting it to run more tests.

For a complete list of supported host and guest operating systems, visit the following links.

Virtual Box

VMware Compatibility Guide

QEMU User Documentation

Virtual Machine Files

One advantage of a virtual system as compared to a physical one is that it is more effectively modifiable and portable. When a virtual machine is created in the host, its settings can be balanced, saved and even can be exported to different hosts.

At the point when a virtual machine is created, it will show up on the host system as a lot of files. It is normally stored in a directory (location of files may vary according to OS), created by the hypervisor for that particular virtual machine.

A virtual machine user may never wanted to know about the file names or locations of the virtual machine files as it is created by Hypervisor for the users. In any case, if the user wants to change hardware settings or solve some VM issues, some information of VM files is required. Some of the main file names is given below :

Suppose the name of our virtual machine is SuperX then the files would be –

1. SuperX.log – It is a Log file which keeps a log of the VM’s action/activities and is used in investigating or troubleshooting.

2. SuperX.nvrm – It is a BIOS file which stores the condition of the virtual machine’s BIOS.

3. SuperX.vmdk – It is a Virtual Disk File which stores the contents of the VM’s disk drive. A virtual disk is comprised of at least one vmdk files. The number of vmdk files will rely upon the size of the virtual disk.

4. SuperX.vmsd / SuperX.vmsn – It is a snapshot file for storing data and metadata about snapshots.

5. SuperX.vmss – This file is called Suspended State file because it stores the exact state of a suspended virtual machine i.e. when the VM was temporarily suspended.

6. SuperX.vmx – It stores general information like VM name, BIOS data, guest OS type and memory sizes.

This is enough for this section. To genuinely understand how a virtual machine works in the virtual layer, some concepts of vmdk and vmx files is useful, let’s see if we can discuss those.

If you have any suggestion or any thought, just comment down below.

More on Virtualization concepts:

1. What is Virtualization? Basic Virtualization Understanding Part -1

2. What is a Virtual Machine? Basic Virtualization Understanding Part -2

3. What is Hypervisor and how many types we got here? let’s find out.

Biplab Das
My name is Biplab Das. I’m a writer, Blogger, Youtuber and full time IT support engineer whose childhood obsession with science fiction never quite faded. A quarter-century later, the technology that I coveted as a kid is woven into the fabric of everyday life. I’ve spent the past years to learn these technologies, I recently published a book on computer science fundamentals. People say smartphones are boring these days, but I think everyone is beginning to take this wonderful technology marvel for granted.

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