You may need to build a computer for a client that uses virtualization technologies. Simultaneously running two or more operating systems on one computer is called virtualization. Often, an operating system is installed, and virtualization software is used to install and manage additional installations of other operating systems. Different operating systems from multiple software companies may be used.
There is another type of virtualization called Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). VDI allows users to log in to a server to access their own virtual computers. Input from the mouse and keyboard is sent to the server to manipulate the virtual computer. Output such as sound and video is sent back to the speakers and display of the computer accessing the virtual computer.
Low-powered devices, known as thin clients, can perform difficult calculations quickly because they are being performed on a server that is much more powerful. A thin client meets the minimum requirements for running windows and runs basic applications from the server.
Laptops, smart phones, and tablets can also access the VDI to use virtual computers. These are some other functions of virtual computing:
- Test software or software upgrades in an environment that does not hurt your current operating system environment
- Use other operating systems on one computer, such as Linux or Ubuntu
- Browse the Internet without harmful software hurting your main installation
- Run old applications that are not compatible with modern operating systems
Virtual computing requires more powerful hardware configurations because each installation needs its own resources. One or two virtual environments can be run on a modern computer with modest hardware, but a complete VDI installation may require fast, expensive hardware to support multiple users in many different environments. This is some of the hardware required to run virtual computers:
- Maximum RAM - You need enough RAM to meet the requirements of each virtual environment and the host computer. A standard installation using only a few virtual machines might require as little as 64 MB of RAM to support a modern operating system such as Windows XP. With multiple users, supporting many virtual computers for each user, you might need to install as much as 64 GB of RAM or more.
- CPU cores - Although a single core CPU can perform virtual computing, a CPU with additional cores increases speed and responsiveness when hosting multiple users and virtual machines. Some VDI installations use computers that have multiple CPUs that have multiple cores.