Computers are here to automate many tasks in daily life. Coders get to write their program within the system to create amazing applications. But writing the code is just step 1 in the creation of an amazing program. What the developers need is a virtual machine to test the code and it’s integrity.
In this blog, we’ll explore more about Virtual Machines, the need, the types, the benefits and how VMs make Web3 a better place to be in. The outline for the blog is as follows:
So let’s get learning about Virtual Machines and its use in Web3.
Introduction To Virtual Machines
A virtual machine (VM) is a software mimicing a computer system that can run programs and execute OS.
Virtualization software that allows multiple operating systems to run on a single physical machine thus creates a virtual machine.
The virtual machine has its virtual hardware, including a virtual CPU, RAM, disk space, and other virtual devices. It runs on top of a host operating system and can be started, stopped, and moved between different physical machines. The guest operating system that runs on the virtual machine is isolated from the host operating system, providing a secure environment for testing and running applications.
Virtual machines have a wide range of applications, including server consolidation, testing and development of software applications, and running legacy applications that require older operating systems. They also offer the ability to create multiple virtual machines on a single physical machine allowing for efficient use of hardware resources.
The Need for a Virtual Machine
There are several reasons why a virtual machine (VM) may be necessary:
Efficient use of hardware resources: A single physical server can host multiple virtual machines. These VMs would have its own operating system and applications. This allows for the efficient use of hardware resources and reduces the need for additional hardware.
Isolation: A virtual machine provides an isolated environment for running applications. This isolation ensures that the applications running on one virtual machine do not interfere with the applications running on another virtual machine. It also provides a secure environment for testing and development.
Legacy application support: Virtual machines can be used to run legacy applications that require older operating systems. This is useful when upgrading to a new operating system is not possible or practical.
Testing and development: Virtual machines provide a convenient and cost-effective environment for the testing and development of software applications. Developers can create multiple virtual machines with different configurations to test their applications in different environments.
Disaster recovery: Virtual machines can be easily backed up and restored, making them an effective solution for disaster recovery. A virtual machine restores itself quickly and easily in case of a system failure.
Overall, virtual machines offer a flexible and efficient solution for running multiple operating systems and applications on a single physical machine.
Types of Virtual Machines
There are several types of virtual machines, each with its purpose and use case. Here are some of the most common types of virtual machines:
System virtual machines: These virtual machines mimic an entire physical computer system. And that is including hardware components such as CPU, memory, and storage. They are used for running multiple operating systems on a single physical machine. Examples are: server consolidation, testing, and development.
Process virtual machines: These virtual machines provide a runtime environment for executing a single application or process. Examples include Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR).
Application virtual machines: These machines run a specific application in an isolated environment. Some examples of application VMs are Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office, and web browsers.
Network virtual machines: These virtual machines emulate network devices such as routers, switches, and firewalls. Network VMs aid in testing and simulating network configurations.
Storage virtual machines: These virtual machines provide virtual storage to the physical appliance by pooling physical storage resources and presenting them as virtual disks.
Desktop virtual machines: These VMs provide a virtual desktop environment for end-users, enabling them to access a complete desktop experience on any device. Some examples include VMware Horizon and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops.
In conclusion, virtual machines provide a flexible and efficient solution for running multiple operating systems, applications, and services on a single physical machine.
Benefits of a Virtual Machine
There are several benefits of using virtual machines (VMs), including:
Hardware utilization: By using virtualization, multiple virtual machines can run on a single physical machine, allowing for efficient use of hardware resources.
Isolation: VMs provide an isolated environment for running applications, ensuring that they do not interfere with each other. This makes it easier to test and develop applications and provides a more secure environment.
Flexibility: Virtual machines can be easily created, copied, moved, and deleted, providing a flexible environment for testing and development.
Legacy application support: VMs can run legacy applications that require older operating systems or hardware. The function is useful when upgrading to a new operating system is not possible or practical.
Disaster recovery: VMs can be easily backed up and restored, making them an effective solution for disaster recovery.
Cost savings: By using virtualization, organizations can reduce the number of physical servers required, which leads to cost savings in terms of hardware, maintenance, and energy costs.
Scalability: Virtual machines can be quickly and easily scaled up or down to meet changing demands.
Overall, VMs provide a flexible and efficient solution for running multiple operating systems, applications, and services on a single physical machine. In addition, it also provides benefits in terms of hardware utilization, isolation, flexibility, legacy application support, disaster recovery, cost savings, and scalability
Virtual Machines for Web3
Virtual machines (VMs) play a crucial role in Web3 by providing a secure and flexible environment for executing smart contracts on a blockchain network.
In the Ethereum blockchain, smart contracts are written in Solidity. Solidity is a high-level programming language. The smart contract compiles into bytecode that executes on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). The EVM is a virtual machine that runs on the nodes of the Ethereum network. Additionally, the EVM is responsible for deploying the smart contracts and enforcing the rules of the Ethereum blockchain.
The EVM is a deterministic and Turing-complete intangible tool, i.e. it can execute any program that represents itself in code and will always produce the same result when given the same input. Thus, EVM is a tool of the essence for all DApp developers.
Moreover, developers can write complex smart contracts that can automate the execution of business logic, financial transactions, and other processes.
In addition to the EVM, other virtual machines are under development for Web3. One such virtual machine is the WebAssembly (WASM). The WASM is designed to be more efficient and flexible than the EVM and can support multiple programming languages.
Overall, virtual machines are a critical component of Web3 because it provides a secure and flexible environment for executing smart contracts and building decentralized applications on blockchain networks.
A List of WEB3 Virtual Machines
Here are some of the virtual machines used in Web3:
- Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM): This virtual machine is specific to the Ethereum blockchain and is responsible for executing smart contracts written in Solidity. The EVM can also run and debug programs coded in other compatible programming languages.
- WebAssembly (WASM): The design of WASM makes it fast and efficient. It can execute code written in various programming languages, including C, C++, and Rust. WASM is a choice of many developers as an alternative to the EVM.
- Parity Substrate Virtual Machine (PVM): The Parity Substrate has its virtual machine. The virtual machine aids in building custom blockchains. It is compatible with the EVM but also provides additional functionality and flexibility.
- NEO Virtual Machine (NeoVM): This is the virtual machine used on the NEO blockchain, and is responsible for executing smart contracts written in languages such as C#, Java, and Python.
- Tezos Virtual Machine (Michelson VM): This is the virtual machine used on the Tezos blockchain. Further, it is responsible to execute smart contracts written in Michelson, a stack-based programming language.
- Cardano Virtual Machine (Plutus VM): This is the virtual machine being developed for the Cardano blockchain, and is designed to support smart contracts written in Plutus, a functional programming language.
Overall, virtual machines are a critical component of Web3. Mainly because they provide a secure and flexible environment for executing smart contracts and building decentralized applications on blockchain networks.
Benefits Of a Virtual Machine In Web3
There are several benefits of using virtual machines (VMs) in Web3, including:
- Security: Virtual machines provide a secure environment for executing smart contracts, as they isolate the execution of code from the underlying hardware and operating system. This helps to prevent attacks and reduce the risk of vulnerabilities.
- Compatibility: Virtual machines can provide a compatible environment for executing smart contracts written in different programming languages. Thus allowing for greater flexibility and interoperability between blockchain networks.
- Standardization: Virtual machines can provide a standardized environment for executing smart contracts, ensuring that they will behave consistently across different nodes on the network.
- Decentralization: Virtual machines can help to facilitate decentralization by allowing nodes on the network to execute smart contracts in a distributed manner without relying on a centralized server or authority.
- Efficiency: Virtual machines can be optimized for performance, allowing for faster and more efficient execution of smart contracts.
- Transparency: Virtual machines provide transparency in the execution of smart contracts. Because the code gets executed in a predictable and auditable manner, and anyone on the network can inspect the automated contract.
Overall, virtual machines are an important tool in Web3, as they provide a secure, flexible, and standardized environment. Virtual machines in Web3 execute smart contracts, and promotes decentralization, interoperability, and transparency on blockchain networks.
A virtual machine is a software that behaves as a machine with its OS, CPPU, RAM, disc space, etc.
Virtual machines are isolated environments to run applications and test the code, and thus their importance in a developer’s journey of creating an application.
Consequently, a VM is of different types catering to different purposes and varies according to the code it needs to test. There are 6 main types of VMs based on what they run and how it functions.
Nonetheless, the advantages of Virtual Machines are plenty and range from efficient hardware utilization to isolation and disaster recovery. Requiring less hardware also leads to cost savings, whereas an isolated environment allows for flexibility in the development and scalability of the application.