Introduction to Server Virtualization
Server virtualization is a virtualization technique that involves the masking
of server resources. This virtualization divides one big physical server into
small virtualized servers in order to maximize the available resources.
The identity and number of individual physical servers, OS
and processors from server users are all masked in this technique. The physical
server is divided into virtual servers by using specially developed
applications that make it easy to perform the job.
The virtual servers arrived are generally known as virtual
private servers, but they may also be known as emulations, containers,
instances and guests.
There are many ways of server virtualization. Almost all these techniques
are available in the US in cities like Tysons, VA.
Three of the most common ways are:
The Virtual Machine Model
This type of server virtualization is based on the guest/host paradigm. Each
host or guest runs on an imitated version of the hardware layer. This approach
is of great use because it allows the OS (guest) to run without the need for
This technology also gives users the ability to create
guests that can run different OS. The guest does not need the information of
the host’s OS because it does not get affected by it and is not even aware that
it does not run on real hardware.
However, it does need real computing resources that are
provided by the host. In such a scenario a hypervisor is used to coordinate
instructions to the CPU.
The hypervisor, known as a virtual machine monitor (VMM), is
of grave importance due to the important role it plays. It validates the
instructions issued by the guest CPU and handles codes that require any
This virtual machine model is used in some of the most
famous servers including Microsoft Virtual Server and VMware.
The Paravritual Machine Model
The paravirtual machine (PVM) technology like the above
mentioned system is also based on the guest/host paradigm. Additionally, it
also uses a virtual machine monitor. However, the main difference is how they
function. The VMM in this scenario performs a job called porting that involves
the modification of the guest OS’s code.
These systems are powerful enough to run multiple operating
systems and the porting technique allows using privilege systems calls cautiously. Some examples include UML and Xen.
Virtualization at the Operating System Layer
This type of server virtualization is different from the two mentioned above.
This is not based on the usual guest/host paradigm. In this scenario the host
runs only a single operating system kernel. However, it exports OS
functionality to its guests that may use the similar OS, which comes in
This reduces CPU usage overhead by eliminating system calls
between the layers. This system also requires all the partitions to stay
isolated from each other so that one partition does not impact other partitions
in any negative way.
In this system, virtual servers can host thousands of guests
simultaneously due to the sharing of libraries and binaries on the same
physical machine. Examples include Solaris Zones and Virtuozzo.
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