Hypervisor (also known as virtual machine manager (VMM)), software that allows the creation and management virtual machines. Virtual machines allow multiple operating systems to run on one physical computer by using software-based emulations. There are two types of hypervisors: Type-1 and type-2.
Type-1 hypervisors are also known as native hypervisors or bare-metal hypervisors. They run directly on host hardware and provide a layer between physical resources and virtual machines. Type-1 hypervisors are VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. Citrix Hypervisor, VMware VM, KVM, and Citrix Hypervisor are all examples. Type-1 hypervisors are more efficient than Type-2 hypervisors due to their direct access to host hardware resources. This results in higher performance and security.
Type-2 hypervisors (also known as hosted hypervisors) run on top a host operating systems and create an abstraction layer between virtual machines and the host system. Type-2 hypervisors are VMware Workstation, Parallels Desktop, and Oracle VM VirtualBox. Type-2 hypervisors can be easier to set up and use than Type-1 hypervisors. However, they are less efficient because they must access the host’s operating systems to access the hardware resources.
Hypervisors offer many benefits, including server consolidation, virtual desktop architecture (VDI), cloud computing and application and OS testing and development. They also provide disaster recovery and business continuity. By using virtual machines, server consolidation allows organizations to consolidate multiple servers onto one physical host. This can reduce cooling and power costs and simplify server management.
Hypervisors are used in VDI to enable virtualized desktop environments. This allows users to access their desktop from any device regardless of where they may be located. This allows remote access to desktop applications and improves desktop security.
Hypervisors are also important in cloud computing. They provide the virtualized environment that allows for the development of cloud infrastructure and platforms. Hypervisors are used by both public and private clouds to offer virtual servers, storage and networking services to customers. This is illustrated by Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, (EC2), and Microsoft Azure. These clouds use hypervisors like Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere.
A hypervisor is also used to test and develop applications and operating systems. This helps to reduce the chance of an incident affecting production environments and facilitates troubleshooting and debugging.
Hypervisors are also useful in disaster recovery and business continuity. Hypervisors can replicate virtual machines to another site so that they can be restarted in case of failure at the primary. This ensures that business-critical systems are not disrupted even during a disaster.
Hypervisior Use Cases
- Server consolidation: A hypervisor can be used to consolidate multiple servers onto one physical host. This allows virtual machines to run on the host. This allows organizations to use their hardware resources more efficiently, reduce cooling and power costs, and simplify server administration.
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Hypervisors can be used to create virtual desktops. This allows users to access virtualized desktop environments from any device regardless of where they are located. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), is a term that’s commonly used by organizations who need remote access to their desktop apps or want to improve desktop management and security.
- Cloud computing: The building blocks of cloud computing are hypervisors. They provide the virtualized environment in which cloud infrastructure and platforms can build. Hypervisors are used by public and private clouds to offer virtual servers, storage and networking services to customers. Cloud providers also use hypervisors like VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V to power their cloud offerings.
- Hypervisors are used by developers and IT professionals to test and develop different operating systems, applications and configurations before they are deployed to production. They can test various configurations and troubleshoot issues without affecting the production environment.
- Disaster recovery and Business continuity: Hypervisors are also available to help implement disaster recovery plans and business continuity. A virtual machine, for example, can be replicated to another site and restarted in the event of a failure at the primary site. This allows the business-critical systems to remain functional even in the face of disaster.
- VMware vSphere: VMware vSphere is a Type-1 hypervisor that was developed by VMware. It is the most popular hypervisor in enterprise environments. It can create and manage virtual machines on x86/64 systems by abstracting resources and creating a virtualized environment for the guest operating system. It is a standard for enterprise virtualization, with advanced features like live migration, high availability, and disaster recovery.
- Microsoft Hyper-V: Microsoft Hyper-V, a Type-1 hypervisor that was developed by Microsoft, can be installed on Windows Server Systems. It allows the creation and management virtual machines, and offers advanced features like live migration, network virtualization, and high availability. It integrates well with Microsoft products like Active Directory and is the native hypervisor for Windows Server.
- Citrix Hypervisor (formerly XenServer), is a Type-1 hypervisor that Citrix developed. It allows the creation and management virtual machines on Windows or Linux systems. Additionally, it offers advanced features like live migration and high availability. Citrix Hypervisor can be integrated with other Citrix products like XenApp or XenDesktop. It is a popular choice for large-scale virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).
- KVM (Kernel Based Virtual Machine): KVM, an open-source Type-1 hypervisor, is part of the Linux kernel. It allows the creation and management virtual machines, and offers advanced features like live migration and high availability. KVM is a common tool in OpenStack cloud deployments. It’s the default hypervisor for the OpenStack Nova component.
- Oracle VM VirtualBox: VirtualBox, a Type-2 hypervisor, was developed by Oracle. It can be installed on Windows and macOS systems and allows for creation and management virtual machines. Because it is a free, open-source solution with an easy-to-use interface, it is often used for testing and development.
- VMware Workstation: VMware Workstation, a Type-2 hypervisor, was developed by VMware. It allows the creation and management virtual machines on Windows or Linux systems. It also offers advanced features like remote connections and clones, as well as snapshots and clones. It is a popular tool used by system administrators and developers to debug and test operating systems and applications.
- Parallels Desktop: Parallels Desktop, a Type-2 hypervisor, was developed by Parallels. It allows the creation and management virtual machines on macOS. It’s similar in functionality to VMware Workstation or Oracle VM VirtualBox but optimized for Mac computers.
- Proxmox Ve: Proxmox’s open-source Type-1 hypervisor Proxmox developed, Proxmox has released ProxmoxVE. It allows the creation and management virtual machines on Linux systems and provides advanced features like live migration and high availability. It integrates with Proxmox Cluster which provides automatic failover, resource management, and makes it an excellent choice for small- to medium-sized companies.
- Nutanix Acropolis – Acropolis is a Type-1 hypervisor that Nutanix has developed. It’s based upon KVM and integrates into Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform. It allows the creation and management virtual machines. Advanced features include live migration, high availability, and disaster recovery. Acropolis provides unified management for containers, virtual machines, and kubernetes groups.
- Red Hat Virtualization: Red Hat Virtualization is a Type-1 hypervisor that allows the creation and management virtual machines on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Systems. It also provides advanced features like live migration, high availability and disaster recovery. Red Hat Enterprise Support Service fully supports it and integrates with Red Hat Automation Tools such as Red Hat Satellite or Ansible. Red Hat Virtualization is a popular choice for enterprise environments that use Red Hat’s product ecosystem.