Virtual Appliance

What Does Virtual Appliance Mean?

A virtual appliance is a software application residing and operating in a preconfigured virtual environment or platform. Virtual appliances are accessed remotely by users and do not require locally-installed hardware.

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Techopedia Explains Virtual Appliance

Applications of all sizes and complexity can be hosted through remote infrastructures. Virtual machines mirror typically installed computer OSs, but do not contain software applications. In other words, a virtual appliance is essentially a software appliance that is installed on a virtual machine.

Virtual appliances have several benefits, particularly ease of deployment. Users are not responsible for managing hardware and software compatibility or OS considerations such as integration and isolation in the event of a system crash. Virtual appliances play a significant role in cloud computing’s software as a service (SaaS) model where remote software access is delivered through a Web browser.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.