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Mastering VMware vSphere™ 4 by Scott Lowe

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7.1. Creating a Virtual Machine

It is common for IT professionals to refer to a Windows or Linux system running on an ESX/ESXi host as a virtual machine. Strictly speaking, this phrase is not 100 percent accurate. A virtual machine is really just a set of virtual hardware selected for the purpose of running a guest operating system. Just as a physical machine is a physical machine before the installation of an operating system, a virtual machine is a virtual machine before the installation of a guest operating system. From an everyday usage perspective, though, you can go on calling the Windows or Linux system a virtual machine. You might see references here to "guest operating system instances"; these would be instances of Windows, Linux, or ...

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