What is a virtual server?

Answers to what’s a virtual server can vary, depending on the use case. Often located in an off-site data center or cloud environment, virtualizing servers involves converting one physical server into multiple virtual machines (VMs). A virtual server is configured so that multiple users can share its processing power. When comparing a physical server versus a virtual server, the virtual server is shown to be an effective way to save on physical hardware costs. It also uses comparatively less energy for additional cost savings and environmental benefits.

Learn more about how virtual servers are readily incorporated in Compute Engine, the cloud-based computing infrastructure.

Virtual server defined

A virtual server re-creates the functionality of a dedicated physical server. It exists transparently to users as a partitioned space inside a physical server. Virtualizing servers makes it easy to reallocate resources and adapt to dynamic workloads.

Converting one physical server into multiple virtual servers allows organizations to use processing power and resources more efficiently by running multiple operating systems and applications on one partitioned server.

What is a virtual server used for?

Most organizations use virtual servers to reduce server hardware expenses and lower power and energy costs. Virtual servers play a key role in building applications, tools, or environments.

Remote access

Virtual dedicated servers can be readily configured to support secure access to business-critical data and files via the internet.

Web hosting

Different web services can be configured with virtual server hosting so multiple website owners can use the server as if they had complete control of it.

Software development and testing

Software developers can create, run, and test new software applications on a virtual server without taking processing power away from other users.

Designed to accelerate cloud transformation, Compute Engine, the flexible Google Cloud virtual machines offering, provides computing infrastructure in predefined and customizable machine sizes. For organizations that want to run virtual private servers in Google Cloud, Compute Engine offers multiple virtual machine families to choose from, each suited for specific workloads and applications.