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How Virtual Computing Works

        Tech | Networking

Virtual Computing Requirements
Virtual computing does not require large mainframe configurations.
Virtual computing does not require large mainframe configurations.
Photo courtesy Dreamstime

Virtual Computing Providers

The number of virtual providers is growing steadily. In this section, we'll cover four of the major providers of virtual computing and the services they provide.

Hewlett-Packard (HP): HP assists its customers with problem solving and troubleshooting, management of electronic systems and allocating storage as needed, including tracking and managing online and offline storage. HP offers hardware and software applications and solutions to its virtual customers, giving them customer support through HP OpenView Service Desk. Security and prevention of data loss are also included.

IBM: IBM offers management tools in system security, storage, performance, availability, operations and configuration. Each of these areas includes software, hardware, utilities, protection, and diagnoses and repairs of faulty software and applications.

Microsoft: Through its Windows Operating System, Microsoft provides hardware and software storage operations, management, upgrades and monitoring.

Sun: Sun Management installs, upgrades, configures and assigns software applications without interrupting operations. Sun does allow users to convert back to a previous configuration.

Although the above providers offer similar services, the system specifications vary per provider. This chart details the specific offerings.

System Requirements

Before you purchase and download virtual PC applications, you need to ensure that your computer meets the system requirements. Every computer system has a limited amount of resources. A reduction in available memory and storage occurs once those resources are used. While the system requirements to download virtual applications are dependent on the provider and the package, we'll provide the minimal requirements for Microsoft Windows and Mac users as an example:

Microsoft's Virtual PC application -- Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 -- requires a 400 MHz Pentium-compatible processor (1.0 GHz or faster) and 20 megabytes of disk space. The virtual application runs on the following Windows operating systems:

  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows XP Professional
  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

Other systems, like Windows 98, Windows 2000, or Windows ME can handle virtual computing, but they require more memory to do so.

Mac users can access virtual computing through Virtual PC for Mac Version 7. They'll need a 700 MHz native PowerPC G3, G4 or G5 processor, 3 GB of free hard drive space and 512 MB of RAM. Virtual PC for Mac will run on Mac OS X Version 10.2.8, 10.3, 10.4.1 and later versions.


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