Chapter 20. The Virtual World

In This Chapter

  • What's a virtual server?

  • Installing VirtualBox

  • Getting ready to do real tasks with virtual machines

 

The real problem is not whether machines think, but whether men do.

 
 --B. F. Skinner (1904–1990)

While the term virtual server sounds an awful lot like air guitar, virtual servers are actually a good thing. Virtual servers allow you to support multiple servers on a single physical machine, saving both space and money. They are quickly becoming all the rage in the corporate world, but they also have a place in the home environment. A virtual server allows you to install more than one Linux distribution on a single computer or to have Linux and Windows running on the same computer!

In this chapter, we detail exactly what a virtual server is — it's a bit more complicated than playing air guitar — and we show you how to install and use one virtual server, VirtualBox.

Understanding What Virtual Servers Are

In this fast-paced world of changing technology, nothing is taken for granted. In the old days, if you needed to run ten separate servers on your network, you had to go out and purchase ten separate systems, and then place them in a huge data center where they took up lots of space.

Nowadays, you have another tool at your disposal: the virtual server, software that gives you the same capabilities as all that hardware. With virtual servers, you can run all ten separate servers on one hardware system. You not only save on hardware costs, but you also ...

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