A virtual machine is a software computer that simulates a physical machine. Virtual machines are designed to be indistinguishable from a physical machine. Virtual machines reduce the cost and complexity of physical hardware, as they can be managed entirely in software.
Virtual machines are the most common standard of compute offered by cloud infrastructure providers such as Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Google Compute Engine. Virtual machines form the foundation of Kubernetes clusters; each node in a cluster is mapped to a virtual machine.