For the uninitiated, it may be hard to tell the difference between emulation and virtualization. The overarching concept is similar to a degree, but as you can probably already tell, they are worlds apart when talking about their purpose and implementation in modern computing.
Computerworld’s Russell Kay helpfully explains:
Emulation is important in fighting obsolescence and keeping data available. Emulation lets us model older hardware and software and re-create them using current technology. Emulation lets us use a current platform to access an older application, operating system or data while the older software still thinks it’s running in its original environment.
Virtualization is a technique for using computing resources and devices in a completely functional manner regardless of their physical layout or location. This includes splitting a single physical computer into multiple “virtual” servers, making it appear as though each virtual machine is running on its own dedicated hardware and allowing each to be rebooted independently.
There’s more, of course, and well worth the read or link-to for your non-virtualization-savvy coworkers (hopefully not making decisions for your IT shop). Bottom line: emulation is for obsoleting obsolescence and virtualization is for combating energy-robbing underutilization.
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