Virtualization vs. Emulation – What’s the Difference?

Virtualization vs. Emulation

The difference between Virtualization vs. Emulation is often misunderstood, even though these terms are quite well-known, even to those not involved in IT. For example, many gamers will use an emulator to turn their PC into a gaming console. Also, many people may add a virtual desktop on Windows by simply pressing the Windows logo key+Ctrl+D in order to separate tasks and increase productivity.

This is, however, only scratching the surface of the many uses of virtualization and emulation. Virtualization and Emulation are two major components in any Enterprise environment. Admittedly, for those who aren’t experts in the field, or those just starting out, the line between the two may be a bit blurred. However, there are many key differences you should make note of. Here, we’ll highlight the key differences between virtualization vs. emulation, the use, and explain in which environment is more suitable to use which application.


Virtualization is a technology that allows you to create multiple simulated environments or dedicated resources from a single, physical hardware system. This includes splitting a single physical infrastructure into multiple virtual servers; letting it appear as through each virtual machine is running on its own dedicated hardware and allowing each of them to be rebooted independently.

It describes a technology in which an application, guest operating system or data storage is abstracted away from the true underlying hardware or software. By removing the dependency on a given hardware platform, this allows for a greater flexibility, control, and isolation. It is also the fundamental technology that powers cloud computing.

There are lots of benefits to an organization or business when implementing a server virtualization strategy. This technology can increase IT agility, flexibility, and scalability while creating significant cost savings. Workloads get deployed faster, performance and availability increases and operations become automated, resulting in IT that’s simpler to manage and less costly to own and operate. Virtualization technology offers the following advantages:

  • Reduce capital and operating costs.
  • Minimize or eliminate downtime.
  • Enable business continually and disaster recovery.
  • Give a true software-defined data center.
  • Provision applications faster.

    Diagram of Virtualization : Virtualization vs. Emulation


Emulation is what we do to imitate the behavior of another program or device. It’s like a concept of a sandbox, allowing you to replicate the behaviors and characteristics of a particular software or program on hardware not designed for them.

It runs an operating system on a hardware platform which it was not originally designed for. This technology lets us model older hardware and software, re-creating them using current technology.

Emulation is important for keeping data available or fighting obsolescence. Let us see what emulation might do for us as the following:

  • Run an application or operating system on a platform which was not designed for.
  • Analysis data that was written onto storage by a platform we no longer have or that no longer works.
  • Run applications on a platform other than the one it was developed for.

Diagram of Emulation: Virtualization and Emulation


With the above two paragraphs of comparison, we can say that virtualization is suitable for commercial usage. It can share the resources which can save big costs, powers the performance, and also enhance the disaster recovery for companies. On the other hand, emulation offers a personal level environment of R&D testing usage, and keeping data available. Please visit our website if you want to know more about applications of virtualization or enterprise-storage solutions.