How it works: virtual server software

Traditional server configurations include hardware — such as the processor, memory, disk, networking and peripherals — plus a single operating system running on that hardware. One or more applications run on top of that. In contrast, virtualization software allows you to create multiple virtual machines, each with its own operating system and applications, which run on the hardware.

In a virtual server environment, the bottom layer is still hardware, such as the processor and disk. You also still have a host operating system that interacts directly with that bottom hardware layer. The virtualization software runs on top of the host operating system. This layer supports the virtual machines, and each machine runs its own operating system version and applications. The operating system and applications have full access to the host machine's hardware resources to ensure top performance.

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