Physical vs Virtual – What is the difference?
The most significant difference between physical and virtual servers is whether the Operating System is running on physical hardware or virtual hardware and therefore how the systems resources are managed.
In a physical (or dedicated) server setup, the Operating System (such as Windows Server) is installed directly onto the server’s hard drive and specific drivers for the server are installed in the same way that a PC is configured. This means that the Operating System has complete control over the hardware and is tied specifically to that server.
In a virtual server, the hardware is managed by a Hypervisor (or host) that shares the resources between guests; known as Virtual Machines (VMs). These Virtual Machines operate in the same was as a physical server except that they are designed to be portable and for maximum compatibly across different hardware.