The concept of “virtualization” covers all the techniques used to dissociate the physical characteristics of a hardware or software system from user-oriented applications.
Virtualization is used to allow the operation of several virtual machines each having their specific operating system sharing the same physical infrastructure.
Why choose virtualization?
In the age of cloud computing and hybrid computing, virtualization is one of the key elements for optimizing the workloads of servers and workstations. But it’s not just virtualization. We also have application virtualization which allows you to dissociate an application from the host operating system and other applications present in order to avoid conflicts. We also have storage virtualization which hides the physical characteristics of storage units. On the user side, the storage units are seen as a single volume.
What do we use to make virtualization?
As virtualization spreads and develops rapidly, hypervisors are more and more present in companies. There are many virtualization techniques. All of these virtualization techniques offer a fairly wide variety. It, therefore, seems rather simplistic to group them all under the name of hypervisor all the more since the name “virtualization component” already exists.
The technical definition of a hypervisor is better illustrated through the operation of paravirtualization. In the case of paravirtualization, the hypervisor is the primary and exclusive interface of the main physical resources. The notion of hypervisor is justified by the fact that the nucleus is historically the “supervisor”. This notion of “supervisor” comes from the “supervisor” mode of x86 processors because it is the kernel that will manage interruptions in supervisor mode. Logically, we, therefore, have the hypervisor which manages the supervisors.
In the case of virtualization of unmodified operating systems, the “virtualization component” is located above an operating system and therefore a kernel. We, therefore, have a contradiction in terms of designations since the hypervisor will be managed by the “supervisor”, namely, the kernel. So there is an inconsistency.
We have two types of hypervisor:
A type 1 hypervisor and a type 2 hypervisor.
- A type 1 hypervisor is a system that installs directly on the server hardware layer. These systems are streamlined in order to “concentrate” on the management of guest operating systems, that is to say, those used by the virtual machines they contain. This frees up as many resources as possible for virtual machines. However, it is possible to run only one hypervisor at a time on a server. Among type 1 hypervisors are systems like Xen, VMware ESX and Proxmox.
- Advantages: A maximum of resources can be allocated to virtual machines because this type of hypervisor is directly linked to the hardware layer.
- Disadvantages: It is only possible to run one hypervisor at a time. This problem is not really impacting since in the vast majority of cases, one and the same hypervisor is capable of managing all the applications of a company.
A type 2 hypervisor is software that installs and runs on an operating system that is already in place. As a result, more resources are used since we are running the hypervisor and the operating system that supports it, so there are fewer resources available for virtual machines. The advantage that can be found is the fact of being able to execute several hypervisors simultaneously since they are not linked to the hardware layer. Among type 2 hypervisors are VMware Player, VMware Workstation, VirtualPC and VirtualBox.
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