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Definition: virtual

A condition without boundaries or constraints. The word virtual is used to define a feature or state that is simulated in some manner; for example, a "virtual world" is all computer-generated imagery.

It Started with Virtual Memory
The first virtual term was "virtual memory," in which the contents of RAM is saved to storage and swapped back and forth as needed. Virtual memory is common on every modern computer (see virtual memory).

The Virtualized Datacenter
A "virtual machine" is a computer within a computer. The driver of cloud computing technology, the virtual machine is an operating system that communicates with a control program and not the hardware directly. The hardware is being simulated or "virtualized" (see virtual machine). See cloud computing.

Online, Electronic and Internet
Having such a high-tech ring, the word virtual evolved to mean "virtually" anything (see list below). Virtual is often used as a substitute for the words "online," "computerized," "electronic" or "Internet." It has also been used to mean "not physical," for example, "The company's product will be virtual for another year."


  virtual memory

  virtual machine

  virtual assistant

  virtual machine monitor

  desktop virtualization

  application virtualization

  network virtualization

  OS virtualization

  server virtualization

  storage virtualization

  virtual appliance

  Java Virtual Machine

  virtual private cloud

  VPN (virtual private network)


  virtual 8086 Mode

  virtual access point

  virtual autopsy

  virtual circuit

  virtual community

  virtual companion

  virtual company

  virtual connection

  virtual copy

  virtual currency

  virtual data room

  virtual database

  virtual datacenter
    (see datacenter container)

  virtual desktop services

  virtual device

  virtual device driver
    (see VxD)

  Virtual Device Interface 
    (see VDI)

  virtual directory

  virtual disk

  virtual DOS machine

  virtual drive

  virtual environment

  Virtual Execution System
   (see VES)

  virtual folder

  virtual function

  virtual funds

  virtual greeting card
    (see e-card)

  virtual hard drive
    (see RAM disk)

  virtual headphones

  virtual host

  virtual hypertext

  virtual image

  virtual instrument

  virtual IP address

  virtual ISP

  virtual keyboard

  virtual kidnapping

  virtual LAN

  virtual library

  Virtual Machine Manager

  virtual marketplace

  virtual mentoring

  virtual monitor

  Virtual network

  virtual network computing
    (see VNC)

  virtual newscaster

  Virtual PC

  Virtual PC for Mac

  virtual peripheral

  virtual phone number

  virtual printer

  virtual printer port

  virtual processor

  virtual radio station

  virtual reality

  virtual root

  virtual routing

  virtual screen

  virtual serial port

  virtual server

  virtual shopping

  virtual storage

  virtual store

  virtual supercomputer

  virtual surround sound
    (see 3D audio)

  virtual switch

  virtual tape

  virtual tape library

  virtual tape system

  virtual terminal

  virtual toolkit

  virtual traffic lights

  virtual voicemail

  virtual workgroup

  virtual world



  AMD Virtualization
    (see AMD-V)


  full virtualization

  hardware virtualization

  I/O virtualization


  hardware virtual memory

  augmented virtuality 
    (see augmented reality)

  computer automatic virtual environment
    (see CAVE)

  Global Virtual Private Network
    (see GVPN)

  Intel Virtualization Technology
    (see VT)

  K Virtual Machine
    (see KVM)

  Microsoft Virtual Machine

  Microsoft Virtual Server

  permanent virtual circuit
    (see PVC)

  switched virtual circuit
    (see SVC)