Before you start creating and managing virtual machines, you benefit from some background information, for example, the virtual machine lifecycle, components, and VMware Tools. What Is a Virtual Machine?A virtual machine is a software computer that, like a physical computer, runs an operating system and applications. The virtual machine consists of a set of specification and configuration files and is backed by the physical resources of a host. Every virtual machine has virtual devices that provide the same functionality as physical hardware are more portable, more secure, and easier to manage. Virtual Machines and the Virtual InfrastructureThe infrastructure that supports virtual machines consists of at least two software layers, virtualization and management. In vSphere, ESXi provides the virtualization capabilities that aggregate and present the host hardware to virtual machines as a normalized set of resources. Virtual machines can run on ESXi hosts that vCenter Server manages. Virtual Machine LifecycleYou create and deploy virtual machines into your datacenter in a several ways. You can create a single virtual machine and install a guest operating system and VMware Tools on it. You can clone or create a template from an existing virtual machine, or deploy OVF templates. Virtual Machine ComponentsVirtual machines typically have an operating system, VMware Tools, and virtual resources and hardware that you manage in much the same way as you would manage a physical computer. Virtual Machine Hardware Available to vSphere Virtual MachinesVMware provides devices, resources, profiles, and vServices that you can configure or add to your virtual machine. Virtual Machine Options and ResourcesEach virtual device performs the same function for the virtual machine as hardware on a physical computer does. vSphere Web ClientAll administrative functions are available through the vSphere Web Client. VMware ToolsVMware Tools improves the performance and management of the virtual machine. Where to Go From HereYou must create, provision, and deploy your virtual machines before you can manage them.