The concept behind server virtualization is a specific example of the same concepts that led to the development of time-sharing and multiprogramming.

Generally, client users tend to ask for computer resources in a “bursty” fashion, demanding fast-as-possible response to requests, but then entering long periods of no activity while they examine the results.

During these idle periods, the computer’s resources can be used to service requests from other clients. This model makes more efficient use of the computer’s resources by reducing the time the system is idle, regardless of user patterns. It also allows the users to share resources, save files on a hard drive, or take turns using a printer.

A growing number of companies offer virtual private server hosting or virtual dedicated server hosting as an extension for web hosting services. There are several challenges to consider when licensing proprietary software in multi-tenant virtual environments.