Ground Report | New Delhi: What Is a Hypervisor; A hypervisor is a piece of software used to create virtual machines. A virtual machine is an emulation of a computer. Virtual machines are used to create multiple computing environments on a single piece of hardware.
Virtual machines are useful because each VM can run a different operating system, behave like a separate computer, and provide a high level of security.
What Is a Hypervisor?
A hypervisor is a piece of software that sits between a virtual machine and the underlying hardware. It’s not possible to create a virtual machine without one.
The hypervisor is responsible for dividing up the hardware resources such as memory, CPU power, and network bandwidth. It then allocates these resources to each VM.
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The hypervisor is responsible for keeping each virtual machine isolated. This is what allows each virtual machine to function independently of any problems that affect the others.
The hypervisor also enables the communication between virtual machines on the same computer and across networks.
Why Are Hypervisors Used?
Virtual machines provide several advantages over physical computers. Depending on the application, a virtual machine may either be a necessity or simply more convenient.
- VMs allow new computer environments to be added to existing hardware. This allows organizations to better use what they have rather than investing in new technology.
- Physical machines take up physical space. VMs do not. Having multiple systems on a single computer is highly beneficial in a large organization or even on a single desk.
- A new VM can be set up much faster than a new physical system. A VM can also be deleted once it is no longer necessary. This makes VMs ideal for temporary projects.
- A VM can be moved from one server to another, allowing IT processes to be performed at different locations without any physical hardware being moved.
- A virtual machine is completely isolated from everything around it. VMs, therefore, provide all of the security benefits of separate physical machines without any of the costs.
Hypervisors can be divided into two distinct categories, namely native and hosted. They are also known as Type 1 and Type 2.
Before discussing the difference, it’s worth noting that a computer that runs VMs is known as a host machine while individual VMs are known as guest machines.
A native hypervisor runs directly on the host machine’s hardware. It doesn’t require an operating system to run beneath it. Because of this, it’s also known as a bare-metal hypervisor.
- Native hypervisors are more efficient because they don’t need to share resources with a host OS. This allows them to offer higher performance levels.
- Native hypervisors are also more secure. Because there’s no host OS, there’s no host OS that an attacker could compromise.
- Native hypervisors are more expensive and are typically used in data centers where performance, uptime, and security are prioritized.
A hosted hypervisor does have an underlying operating system, typically installed directly above it. The host OS is then used to obtain resources from the host machine.
This may cause a drop in performance. It also means that an attack on that OS has the potential to affect all VMs installed by the hypervisor above it.
The primary advantage of hosted hypervisors is that they are cheaper and usually easier to install. Hosted hypervisors are typically used when increased performance and security aren’t worth the added cost.
For example, they are often used for testing software and for creating virtual desktops.
If you’re trying to run a virtual machine on a personal computer, your choice of hypervisor depends on your existing operating system.