What is a Hypervisor?
Hypervisors are software applications that virtualize hardware. By partitioning a physical computer's processor, memory, and storage into separate "virtual" resources, a hypervisor enables different operating systems to run simultaneously on one machine.
A hypervisor is an integral component of the data centre and enterprise infrastructure. System administrators and operators must be well-versed in its capabilities, including VM configuration, migration and snapshots.
What is a Hypervisor (VMM)?
Hypervisors are software, firmware or hardware programs that create virtual machines and manage the execution of guest operating systems. Hypervisors enable multiple instances of different operating systems to share a single piece of computer hardware.
Type 1 hypervisor, or a bare metal hypervisor, is software that runs directly on the hardware (CPU, memory and storage) with no intermediary software between it and the host operating system. These types of hypervisors (also called native hypervisors) are common in large enterprise environments.
Another type of hypervisor, a hosted hypervisor, is software running on top of an operating system on the host machine. This type is typically employed when the latency, such as testing and end-user applications, isn't an issue.
Both types of hypervisors have pros and cons, but ultimately both serve the same purpose: to logically separate Virtual Machines from each other so that crashes or malware on one won't affect others. Both offer many advantages over traditional software solutions, like improved security and the convenience of moving VMs between servers quickly.
For instance, a single hypervisor can host multiple virtual machines on the same hardware, using available resources more efficiently. Furthermore, a hypervisor can be moved from server to server at will without disruption to the virtual machine - this process is known as live migration.
These features make hypervisors ideal for cloud computing since they are portable and easily transferable to other servers with sufficient computer resources. Compared to traditional software, which is tightly tied to its underlying hardware, a hypervisor makes virtual machines independent from that hardware which helps improve cloud computing performance.
Hypervisors come in two primary varieties: bare-metal hypervisors and hosted hypervisors. Both offer advantages, but bare-metal hypervisors tend to be more efficient and secure against cyberattacks - making them the go-to choice for enterprise applications and cloud computing needs. On the other hand, hosted hypervisors may be suitable for uses where latency is not a major concern.
Why should you use a hypervisor?
Hypervisors are essential tools for IT departments. They offer a centralized way to manage many virtual machines, saving time, money and energy in the process. Furthermore, hypervisors enable scalability, flexibility and security at scale.
Hypervisors create a layer of software, firmware or hardware that divides one computer into secure environments and appropriately distributes its physical resources between them. This is accomplished by enabling one host machine to run multiple virtual machines (VMs) concurrently.
The hypervisor acts as a monitor and manager for virtual machines it creates, allocating CPU, memory, storage and network resources among them. Furthermore, it ensures that these virtual machines remain isolated so that any issues in one won't affect others in the system.
Additionally, Virtual Machines can communicate with each other over a shared network, enabling them to collaborate in ways that wouldn't be feasible if each machine were connected to its local network.
Hypervisors can help your business increase efficiency and scalability, but they also put you at greater risk of cyberattacks. To protect your VMs against malicious code, ensure the hypervisor stays up to date and has all necessary patches applied.
Hypervisors come in two basic varieties - type 1 and type 2. A type 1 hypervisor, or bare-metal or native hypervisor, runs directly on the hardware of the host machine. A type 2 hypervisor runs as an independent software layer on the host operating system. Hosted hypervisors offer convenience during launch and management but typically provide slower performance and less security.
Types of hypervisors
Hypervisors is a software program that creates and manages virtual machines (VMs). They enable one host computer to support multiple guest VMs by sharing its hardware resources, such as memory and processing power, with multiple guest VMs.
Businesses can quickly implement new applications or optimize existing ones more efficiently, thus reducing data centre expenses and energy consumption.
For example, if you require a secure environment that can work with both Windows and Linux systems, then type 1 or bare metal hypervisor - also referred to as a native hypervisor - would be your best bet.
Another type of hypervisor is a hosted one, which runs on top of an operating system. These are often called Type 2 hypervisors and are more common today than Type 1. Examples include VMware ESX/ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer.
Hosted or Type 2 hypervisors are usually simpler to set up and use than bare metal hypervisors, plus they're also compatible with more hardware types.
Bare-metal or Type 1 hypervisor are the most widely used due to their extreme security and improved performance. This is due to direct access to hardware, which helps shield underlying OSes from malicious attacks.
Bare metal hypervisors are more energy-efficient and faster to set up than hosted hypervisors, which must go through multiple layers before functioning optimally.
Hypervisors vs Containers
Virtual machines (VMs) and containers have many similarities; however, they have some common advantages and drawbacks.
Containers have a clear manifest outlining their dependencies and configuration details, making them more secure overall.
Furthermore, they are typically destroyed and redeployed quickly, decreasing the risk of configuration drift. This makes it simpler for security teams to monitor and document configuration changes.
If you're uncertain which hypervisor type is ideal for your environment, here are some of the most common types:
Type 1: A type 1 hypervisor is a native hypervisor that replaces the operating system on hardware, making it faster since all computing power can be dedicated to guest virtual machines and more secure since adversaries cannot exploit vulnerabilities within the operating system.
Hosting or embedded hypervisors, which add software layers on top of the host operating system, are another option. Unfortunately, these hypervisors are slower and less secure than type 1.