Derived from virtual memory concepts, virtual machines are a distinct IT configuration class. Under the virtual machine class, a ‘system virtual machine’ represents one physical unit subdivided so each of the component partitions function independently. The attractiveness of this technique is that it enables the deployment of more than one similar or dissimilar operating system within an IT hardware configuration. In addition, a ‘system virtual machine’ allows for the tandem operation of two or more programs within the definitions of multiprocessing. Control over the ‘system virtual machine’ is achieved through a virtual machine monitor (also known as a hypervisor) that typically provides consolidation, stability, security, flexibility, migration, and cloning capabilities.
“View Part I of the Managing the Growth and Impact of Virtual Machines and Memory series here“