Did you really think virtualisation was only used in the I.T industry?
One of the most indispensable tools in any engineer's pocket, is virtualisation. The reason is simple. Virtualisation allows for multiple isolated development environments on just a single piece of hardware.
Prior to dual core computing, this might not have been feasible. Not anymore. The current performance capabilities of computers will take more than one virtualised environment without breaking a sweat.
A virtualised environment can save you from irreversible mistakes. Many virtualised environments offer the capability to revert to a previous snapshot of the working system. This benefit flows directly down to the development cycle. Spend more time engineering, and less time worrying.
Worry less about polluting your workspace. One of the most prominent benefits of a virtualised environment is the ability to isolate applications by virtualising them. Give them their own deserved space.
Share your work. Save time by sharing your virtualised environment with others, or even between your own computers. Why not digitally send a virtual machine to your overseas office instead of sending a computer.
Be compatible. Many virtualisation solutions offer cross platform compatibility between operating systems. You can be assured that your environment will work the same on another operating system.
There will be times when a virtualised environment may not be as convenient. But with the benefits that it provides, it's hard to resist it as a compelling engineering tool for the future.