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How to explain virtualization to your parents (or anyone)

The word for today is virtualization. I dug around for some different meanings of the word as it is sometimes not a simple concept. In my looking, I even learned more about the word. I have put together a few of the different meanings to help simplify the word.

virtualization-codeVirtualization: The process of separating the software layer of a computer or server from the hardware layer of a computer or server. A new layer is placed between the two to act as a go between. This could also be explained as the creation of many virtual or artificial resources from one physical resource (a computer or server) or the creation of one virtual or artificial resource from one or more physical resources. The virtualization concept can relate to various areas like networking, storage and hardware.

I came back to this a few days later and I read it again. It was still kind of confusing to me. So, I asked myself how I could make this term easier to understand.

I came up with an example from the movie The Matrix Reloaded, one of my favorites. There is a scene where the main character Neo is surrounded by hundreds of Mr. Anderson clones (the bad guys). Though the Mr. Andersons were all copies, they did different things and they were not limited to one task. They took one Mr. Anderson and divided him into multiple ones.  This is kind of like that creation of many virtual or artificial resources from one physical resource that was mentioned earlier.

If you are not a fan of the Matrix, then I have a different way of explaining the virtualization concept. You could possibly think of virtualization like growing a plant. If you think about how a plant grows, you will see that the plant often starts off as seed or single shoot where a piece has been cut off and placed in water. Within a few weeks you begin to see multiple leaves from a single shoot or even from that seed if it has been planted and watered correctly. Again, this goes back to that creation of many virtual or artificial resources from one physical resource. You get many leaves or shoots from that one initial seed or shoot.

So, now if your mom or dad asks you about virtualization, you can talk about plants or watch a movie with them.

What do you think? Would either of these be a good way to explain virtualization if your mom or dad asked?

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