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What is a Hypervisor?

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  • What is a Hypervisor?

    It is a program that allows multiple operating systems to share a single hardware host. Each operating system appears to have the host's processor, memory, and other resources all to itself. However, the hypervisor is actually controlling the host processor and resources, allocating what is needed to each operating system in turn and making sure that the guest operating systems (called virtual machines) cannot disrupt each other.

  • #2
    To add to the above point, there are two types of Hypervisors:
    • Type 1,which is considered a bare-metal hypervisor and runs directly on top of hardware. The Type 1 hypervisor is often referred to as a hardware virtualization engine.
    • Type 2, which operates as an application on top of an existing operating system.
    A Type 1 hypervisor provides better performance and greater flexibility because it operates as a thin layer designed to expose hardware resources to virtual machines (VMs), reducing the overhead required to run the hypervisor itself.

    Because a Type 1 hypervisor runs directly on the hardware, it is a function in and of itself. Servers that run Type 1 hypervisors are often single-purpose servers that offer no other function. They become part of the resource pool and are designed specifically to support the operation of multiple applications within various VMs.

    Typically, a Type 1 hypervisor is more efficient than a Type 2 hypervisor, yet in many ways they both provide the same type of functionality because they both run the same kind of VMs. In fact, you can usually move a VM from a host server running a Type 1 hypervisor to one running a Type 2 hypervisor and vice versa. A conversion may be required, but the process works.