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What are Virtual Machines? What is a VM?

For use in virtualization, data centers and cloud computing, virtual machines (VMs) are siloed operating systems (OSs), which run software, applications, and are used to store data. VMs are virtual computer emulations that operate much like traditional computers do. VMs can connect to peripheral devices and function just like physical computers, but to work together, VMs must be managed by a hypervisor, which connects each VM's OS as needed for various tasks.

What are VMs used for?

VMs are most commonly used for the virtualization of servers, and in this application of VMs, you may hear people call them “virtual private servers.” For VMs used in this capacity, there is a third-party hosting provider being used, so this is not the way VMs are used within the arena of enterprise cloud environments.

Other applications for VMs are use as mail servers, domain controllers, or file servers, among many other things. More and more, businesses of all sizes are switching to the use of VMs for these needs because they cost much less to maintain and keep cool, and they take up a minute fraction of the space that legacy servers do.

VMs and the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)

A lot has changed in virtual storage even in just the past couple of years. One of the real, true callings of the VM is within virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Here, as long as you are on application-level storage, you can isolate each desktop into its own lane, ending the conundrum of “noisy neighbors.” While you can attempt VDI with logical unit numbers (LUNs) and volumes, but these two forms of legacy storage don’t work with individual applications—the currency of cloud—and therefore cannot perform at the same level that VMs can. When you use storage architected for VMs and containers instead of retrofitting LUNs or volumes for virtual use, scalability, visibility, and deployment are all easier and far more actionable. You can say goodbye to over-provisioning and guesstimating when you swap your LUNs and volumes for application-level storage for VDI.

VMs within the all-flash array (AFA)

Application-level storage is strongly recommended for VM operations within all-flash array (AFA) storage for a variety of reasons. Using application-level storage for VMs within AFAs allows you to isolate cloud-native applications by automatically assigning lanes to each VM, thus reducing the difficulty in managing cloud-native apps. Additionally, you can set up Quality of Service (QoS) for each application with a simple drag and drop within the user interface (UI).

Application-level storage will allow you to see what’s happening using real-time and predictive analytics—you’ll be able to seek and find latency issues at the root, right down to the individual VM level. This makes troubleshooting much quicker and simpler to do. What’s more, you'll be able to use the past to predict the future, so you will know when it's time to scale up or sit tight.

The power of application-level storage for VMs within AFAs holds tremendous potential for the storage needs of even the world's largest enterprises, including federal governments, banking institutions, health care providers and much more. For the first time, private enterprise cloud is able to offer public cloud-like agility with Tintri All-Flash Array.