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The fun all began in May of 1999, when VMware launched VMware Workstation, a product that lets you run multiple operating systems simultaneously on your desktop computer. In truth, the story begins much earlier with the VM OS concept, which was pioneered (like many things) by IBM in 1960 but eventually perfected by others. The idea behind virtualization is simple. You can run multiple OSs simultaneously and share the CPU, memory, and peripherals among them. In this article, we're not going to cover what virtualization is per se. This would easily require two articles, and the actual ideas behind virtualization are well explained elsewhere. And besides, we've already covered the use of virtualization in this column for use in maintaining experimental computing laboratories. Instead, we'll focus here on a fairly simple use case that's likely to be of interest to our readers: setting up your own mini compute cluster to use for developing and testing high-performance computing applications.