The Virtual Machine I Blockchain

Gepubliceerd op 23 oktober 2022 om 09:00

In addition to Virtual Machines, you also have Dockers (also called Containers). This is a concept that often goes hand in hand with the Virtual Machine. Therefore, in this article I will also explain what a Docker is and how it differentiates itself from the Virtual Machine.

What is a computer?

Before we get to the virtual machine, I'll briefly discuss what exactly a computer is. A computer is an electronic device on which you can perform certain actions. A computer is for example a desktop, laptop, mobile, tablet, etc.

These computers are built by means of hardware (what you can see physically). To be able to use this hardware, software (what can make your computer run and what you can see on the screen) has been devised. The software therefore allows people to use a computer. Without software a computer is unusable.

Well-known examples of software include Mac OS, Windows, Android, IOS, etc. This is also called the Operating System (OS). An OS is an important piece of software that allows people to use the hardware.

After you install an OS on a computer, you can then build and use all kinds of other programs that work on that OS. Examples include Microsoft Office, Evernote, Whatsapp, Spotify, etc. This is not an OS, but applications (apps) that can function on the OS.

What is a Virtual Machine and why would one use it?

A virtual machine is an OS that works within an OS. In other words, it is a virtual computer without hardware. If you use Mac OS as your OS, then you can run an OS on top of that. That's the virtual machine. This virtual machine itself has no hardware. You can run a virtual machine through a virtual machine manager. Well-known virtual machine managers are Virtualbox and VMware.

Suppose we have a laptop on which you have Mac OS running. Then you can download Vmware where you could put 2 different virtual machines on it: Microsoft and Linux. After this installation, you can use two virtual computers on your Mac OS laptop running Microsoft and Linux. Because you have multiple virtual computers, you can also use certain applications that are only available on Microsoft and Linux on your Mac OS laptop. This allows you to use the different applications from different operating systems.

A virtual machine is actually only used when users need a certain OS to perform a certain action. For example, you might try out a new OS, be able to test a particular application, or use an application that is only available on an older OS version.

Consider, for example, ethical hackers. They use different OS. This is because it is very difficult (if not impossible) to use certain applications on Windows or Mac OS when it comes to hacking and security. Certain applications that allow you to scan a network are only available for Linux, for example. People who want to use these applications can download the Linux virtual machine that allows them to use the applications from Linux.

A company can also use a virtual machine. It is possible to install a virtual machine on servers. Suppose a company has 100 employees, then the company can download 100 virtual machines on their computers. The employees must then log in to access this virtual environment (many companies do this for security reasons). The advantage of this is that all the sensitive information is stored on their own server. The company can scan this server itself for viruses and potential attacks. The company can also quickly restore a backup if there are problems with the server.

In this way, a company can also immediately install all applications that an employee may need. By using a virtual machine, an employee does not have to download and install all the programs himself. This also prevents an employee from using an infected link to download the programs. Because the company already does this for the employee, the company can be sure that the programs are legitimate and free of viruses and malware.

What is a docker?

A docker is very similar to a virtual machine, but there are still significant differences between these two concepts.

With a virtual machine you always have to install the entire operating system on your computer, for example Microsoft. Then you can run applications on the OS of your virtual machine. This takes a lot of memory, because an OS is simply large. You definitely spend a few GB installing an OS on your computer. Not counting the applications you want to download on this OS.

With a Docker, you do not install the entire OS on the virtual machine, but only the applications that you would like to run on this OS. Then the OS of your own computer is used to run these applications. This way you don't have to download a whole new OS. The size of a Docker is a lot smaller than a virtual machine. In addition, a Docker is also faster because it does not need to boot up a whole OS.

The disadvantage of a Docker is that you cannot run a Docker on every OS. You can run the OS of a particular virtual machine on any OS of your original computer. Suppose you want to use a Docker application from Microsoft on a Mac OS computer. Unfortunately, you can't. For this you need a Docker Toolbox. A Docker toolbox allows you to run an application from one OS on the OS your current computer is running on. So in our example, you can't run a Microsoft application on a Mac OS computer. You can, however, via a Docker Toolbox. A Docker toolbox allows you to run applications intended for one OS on the OS installed on your current computer.

Virtual machines and blockchain

A very well-known virtual machine is the Ethereum virtual machine. The Ethereum virtual machine is a system that keeps track of the transactions on the Ethereum blockchain in a decentralized way. Users can install the Ethereum virtual machine on their own computer and create and use smart contracts (programs/applications) on it. 

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