Use cases for VMs
VMs have several uses, both for enterprise IT administrators and users. Here are a few options:
- Cloud computing: For the last 10+ years, VMs have been the fundamental unit of compute in cloud, enabling dozens of different types of applications and workloads to run and scale successfully.
- Support DevOps: VMs are a great way to support enterprise developers, who can configure VM templates with the settings for their software development and testing processes. They can create VMs for specific tasks such as static software tests, including these steps in an automated development workflow. This all helps streamline the DevOps toolchain.
- Test a new operating system: A VM lets you test-drive a new operating system on your desktop without affecting your primary OS.
- Investigate malware: VMs are useful for malware researchers that frequently need fresh machines on which to test malicious programs.
- Run incompatible software: Some users may prefer one OS while still needing a program that is only available in another. One good example is the Dragon range of voice dictation software. Its vendor, Nuance, has discontinued the macOS version of its product. However, running a desktop-focused hypervisor—such as VMware Fusion or Parallels—enables you to run Windows in a VM, giving you access to that version of the software.
- Browse securely: Using a virtual machine for browsing enables you to visit sites without worrying about infection. You can take a snapshot of your machine and then roll back to it after each browsing session. This is something that a user could set up themselves, using a Type 2 desktop hypervisor. Alternatively, an admin could provide a temporary virtual desktop located on the server.