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Virtualization Glossary

This article contains a glossary of terms related to server virtualization. It contains some of the most common industry terms and open-source tools.

What is Virtualization?

Virtualization is the concept of adding a layer of abstraction between a computer’s programs and hardware. Instead of hardware being fed directly to the program, the program sees hardware as defined by the setup of your virtual machine instance.

What are Virtual Machines?

A virtual machine is a virtualized instance of a computer system. A virtual machine runs on top of your server’s existing environment.

What is a Host (Host Machine/ Host System/ etc.)?

The physical hardware which runs the virtual machines. Virtual Machines are sometimes referred to as “guests”.

What is Containerization?

Containerization is a virtualization method that enables running of software without the need for full virtual machines. It is a technique of packaging code with only the operating system libraries and dependencies to create a low-overhead executable program (container) to easily run on your server. Containers are analogous to light-weight Virtual Machines that are created to enable software to run effortlessly in different environments.

What is a Hypervisor?

The management program for your virtual machines. Your hypervisor is what enables the creation, management and operation of virtual machine instances.

Type 1 hypervisors (sometimes referred to as “bare metal”) are installed directly onto a server without an underlying operating system. Examples would be Linux KVM, VMware ESXI, Windows Hyper-V

Type 2 hypervisors (sometimes referred to as “hosted”) are installed from with an operating system. Examples would be VirtualBox, or VMware Workstation

What is Linux KVM?

Kernel-based Virtual Machine is a virtualization model of the Linux kernel which enables it to function as a hypervisor. KVM is the premiere open-source virtualization technology for Linux, which is installed natively on all Linux distributions.

What is Linux LXC?

Linux Containers (LXC) is a popular container runtime that is extremely flexible and feature dense for containerization applications. It enables running of multiple isolated Linux systems on a single host using a single Linux kernel.

What is Docker?

Docker is another popular container runtime that is extremely flexible and feature dense. Docker is one of (if not the most) widely used container engines worldwide.

What is Proxmox VE?

Proxmox VE is a complete, open-source server management platform for enterprise virtualization. It tightly integrates the KVM hypervisor and Linux Containers (LXC), software-defined storage, and networking functionality on a single platform. In addition, with the integrated web-based user interface, you can manage VMs and containers, high availability for clusters, or the integrated disaster recovery tools with ease.

What is a Snapshot (Virtual Machine)?

Proxmox VE live snapshots are taken as an entire record of the VM’s memory, settings and state of all virtual disks. This allows restoration of RAM, disks and settings to exactly how they were when you took the snapshot.

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