Finding out whether or not you are running in a virtual environment depends on a few different factors. For example, the operating system you are using and the virtualization technology that may or may not be in use. Knowing if you are in a virtual environment is helpful if you are trying to find a true "bare-metal" dedicated server, since many of the larger hosting companies advertise dedicated systems that are actually little more than glorified multi-tenant VPS's. We won't name names, but in a previous life when we all use to do consulting, there were multiple instances where we needed to setup very specific virtual environments on servers that were marketed, sold and priced as dedicated, but were in fact virtualized so we were forced to research alternative options. It might matter to you and your implementation or it might not, but either way you deserve to know what you are getting.
On a Windows system (VMWare):
- Open a CMD window and type SYSTEMINFO
On a Linux system (VMWare):
- Run lspci | grep -i vmware at a shell prompt