Type 2 hypervisor (hosted hypervisor) definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: How to choose the right VMware type-2 hypervisor
Contributor(s): Anil Desai, Roy Foster, Colin Steele

A Type 2 hypervisor, also called a hosted hypervisor, is a virtual machine manager that is installed as a software application on an existing operating system (OS).

There are two types of hypervisors: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 hypervisors support guest virtual machines by coordinating calls for CPU, memory, disk, network and other resources through the physical host's operating system. This makes it easy for an end user to run a virtual machine on a personal computing device. Examples of this type of hypervisor include VMware Fusion, Oracle VM, Parallels and VMware Workstation.

In contrast, a Type 1 hypervisor (also called a bare metal hypervisor) is installed directly on physical host server hardware just like an operating system. Type 1 hypervisors run on dedicated hardware. They require a management console and are used in data centers. Examples of this type of hypervisor include ESXi, Hyper-V and KVM.

Regardless of the implementation, virtual machines (VMs) and their guest operating systems are typically unaware of which type of hypervisor is implemented, as they interact only with the hypervisor itself.

See also: client hypervisor

This was first published in December 2014

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