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OS virtualization: Virtualizing without the hypervisor
This article is part of the Virtual Data Center issue of August 2009, Vol. 13
Virtualization doesn't require a hypervisor. Imagine a virtualization infrastructure completely devoid of a hypervisor. Having no hypervisor eliminates the need for driver emulation. Getting rid of driver emulation means faster performance. Faster performance means more virtual machines that can be run simultaneously. And more simultaneous virtual machines nets you higher density, all of which means more bang for your virtualization dollar. This may sound like fantasy, but all virtualization solutions don't always follow the traditional hypervisor-based architecture. One class of virtualization architectures, OS virtualization, operates in exactly this way. To quote from my recent e-book, The Shortcut Guide to Selecting the Right Virtualization Solution, OS virtualization leverages "a host OS and residing virtual machines [that] are completely and wholly segregated from each other. What's different [with OS Virtualization] is that the host's OS becomes the base OS from which all its hosted virtual machines start their existence....
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Features in this issue
Virtualization and tight budgets have changed IT staffing in modern data centers. Find out how to blend skills and technology for the best mix.
Get faster and smaller, hypervisor-free virtual machines with container-based operating system virtualization. Expert Greg Shields shows how to get greater VM performance in less physical space in this tip.
Most hypervisors have the same basic features, but the devil is in the details. Comparing hypervisors' CPU usage, memory and processor support will help you make the right choice.