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What Is Processor Virtualization?

A computer's hard drive capacity must be sufficient to the task of processor virtualization.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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One of the methods available to increase the computational power of a computer is processor virtualization. The processor is the primary unit in the computer responsible for actually completing the requests. This chip is attached to the center of the motherboard and is the logical processing center of the computer. The power and speed of any computer is based on the processor.

Virtualization is the process of creating another instance or version of a computer without increasing the physical computing unit. The concept of virtualization is widely used in complex computing as a method of increasing processing capacity on a limited budget. Using the existing resources, the processor is separated into at least two separate units. Each unit functions independently of the other and is able to access all the same files.

Processor virtualization is an advanced computer skill, and it is best not to attempt this type of work without sufficient experience and expertise. While not a physical process, damage can occur when attempting to initiate processor virtualization that cannot be undone. Individual processors can be purchased from computer supply stores, but technical expertise is required to install them onto a motherboard correctly.

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The first thing to consider when thinking about implementing processor virtualization is to evaluate the total capacity of your processor and determine if it is capable of virtualization. Think about what types of jobs or programs you want your computer to run and calculate the total processing speed required to complete these tasks. Don't forget to consider the hard drive capacity and memory necessary to meet your needs. These components must also be able to meet the requirements, or the entire job will fail.

Look at the operating system you are currently using to determine if it supports virtualization. Windows® 7 and above are fully compliant, as are Linux® and Mac OS®. Another benefit of this type of environment is the ability to support multiple operating systems on the same unit. The only downside to this capability is the hard drive space required to store all the data associated with each of these operating systems.

The benefits of processor virtualization include reduced hardware requirements, enhanced capability to run multiple jobs or processes simultaneously, lower overhead costs to support hardware, and enhanced security. In this model, anti-virus software and a firewall are only required for the single hardware unit. Virtual systems are organized within this structure, thereby reducing the risk and maximizing the value of the anti-virus software, without violating any licensing agreement.

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