Hardware Virtualization is the complete abstraction of the various computing resources from the software while operating in the cloud. It involves the virtual machine software that is embedded in the server. The operating system is converted into a distinct one, also called the hypervisor that can run and function inside the virtual machine. It is an evolving technology mainly used in server platforms by integrating several servers in a single physical server.
- Definition of Hardware Virtualization
- How to Enable Hardware Virtualization?
- Types of Hardware Virtualization
- Advantages of Hardware Virtualization
- Disadvantages of Hardware Virtualization
1) Definition of Hardware Virtualization
So what is Hardware Virtualization? Hardware Virtualization refers to the abstraction of the physical components of a system by using a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) or the hypervisor. This means that the VMM software gets installed on the system hardware in order to monitor, and control the memory. This makes sure that the processor is used more effectively.
The hypervisor then controls the shared computing resources by allowing the different OS to run on the virtual machine without the need for a new source code. It relies on the command set extensions used in the processors to enhance the activities in order to boost the performance. It is sometimes called server virtualization. The idea is to hide the physical hardware and the host software or the hypervisor assumes control over the system.
2) How to Enable Hardware Virtualization?
As discussed earlier, Hardware-Assisted Virtualization is a platform that allows efficient functioning of the system hardware from the host processor with the help of a Virtual Machine (VM). It consists of several abstract or logical layers where the VM is being installed in a host Operating System (OS) where it is used to generate other virtual machines. In this abstract execution environment, the OS acts as a guest while the physical component represents the host, the hypervisor as the Virtual Machine Manager, and the emulation process as the Virtual Machine.
The hypervisor in turn creates an abstraction layer between the host and the guest components of the Virtual Machine (VM) that uses virtual processors. To make efficient hardware virtualization, the virtual machine interacts with the hardware components without any intermediary host OS. In running this setup, multiple VMs can be hosted at a time, although each VM gets isolated individually. This is because cyber threats and system crashes can be avoided in multiple VMs and can be restricted to a single VM to increase the overall efficiency of the system.
3) Types of Hardware Virtualization
Some of the Hardware Virtualization Types are listed below:
- Full Virtualization – In this type of Hardware Virtualization, there is no need for any physical modifications to execute the applications as the hardware architecture simulates that of an environment where a normal operating system is running on a server. Here, the compatibility function allows the system administrators to integrate the existing and the new system set-up to manage the application more efficiently.
- Emulation Virtualization – In this type of Hardware Virtualization, the guest operating system does not require any modifications as the Virtual Machine assists in simulating the hardware components. In this setup, the hardware acts as architectural support that manages and runs the virtual machines efficiently.
- Para-virtualization – In this type of Hardware Virtualization, the software runs an isolated system by utilizing an API that helps in modifying the guest operating system. Here, the hardware components are not simulated while the hypervisor uses memory management in order to execute a set of commands and helps in running the system.
4) Advantages of Hardware Virtualization
Some of the advantages of using a hardware Virtualization system are listed below:
- Economical – Hardware Virtualization is compatible with most existing systems as it can integrate the IT infrastructure of large as well as mid-sized companies. It helps in eliminating extra cost spent on IT infrastructure while increasing the lifespan of the existing system. Since multiple Operating Systems can be used in a single server due to server consolidation, it minimizes the space occupancy of multiple server racks and reduces power consumption.
- Efficient Backup and Recovery – Virtualization makes it simpler to recover data and accurately by reducing the dependence on manpower and with the minimum usage of computing resources. This helps to reduce downtime and maintains operational efficiency by implementing quick system recovery methods.
- Increase IT Flexibility – Virtualization makes it possible for businesses to manage the resources more consistently while it helped in the development of the latest and more advanced hardware components or resources.
- Advanced Features – With evolving new technologies like hypervisors, more and more complex operations are becoming simpler. This makes it possible for the abstraction of hardware resources to maximize efficiency by migrating the existing virtual machine for multiple hosts in real-time.
- Operational Efficiency – It becomes easier for the IT support staff to manage the software rather than managing the output of the hardware resources. This reduces operational downtime and aids in fewer outages and reduces recovery time. Moreover, a virtual machine can be deployed to allocate the unused resources of another virtual machine as the need arises.
5) Disadvantages of Hardware Virtualization
Some of the disadvantages of Hardware Virtualization are as follows:
- Cost Issues – It is imperative that certain hardware and software are still necessary to run effective hardware virtualization that is not so cost-effective. Although it is a one-time investment, the high cost of such purchases may not be feasible for small-sized companies.
- Security Issues – Data security is one major highlight for every company running hardware virtualization as the server is managed and is in complete control of the service providers. Therefore, adequate protection is necessary along with intelligent control systems to check such privacy and security concerns.
- Scalability Issues – Every business needs to grow and with it comes the question of scalability when working with hardware virtualization.
- Data Availability Issues – With virtualization servers in place, it becomes increasingly possible that virtualization servers may go offline anytime as the control is in the hands of the vendors. Any mistake or connection errors on their part may result in delays and downtime issues.
With more and more organizations migrating their hardware resources to virtualization, it becomes increasingly necessary to understand the real market trend and the value that it can help generate for your businesses. Organizations need to analyze the impact it can have on their value-system. By recognizing the existing and future demands from their business processes they can take an informed decision to go virtualization of their businesses.
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