Full Virtualization – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Virtual Computer Glossary Terms

What is Full Virtualization?

Full virtualization is a type of virtualization technology that allows multiple operating systems to run simultaneously on a single physical server. Each operating system is completely isolated from the others, and each has its own set of virtual hardware resources, such as CPU, memory, storage, and network interfaces. This enables users to run multiple virtual machines (VMs) on a single physical server, maximizing the utilization of hardware resources and improving efficiency.

How does Full Virtualization work?

In full virtualization, a hypervisor, also known as a virtual machine monitor (VMM), is installed on the physical server. The hypervisor acts as a layer of software that sits between the hardware and the operating systems running on the VMs. It manages the allocation of physical hardware resources to each VM, ensuring that they operate independently of each other.

The hypervisor uses a technique called binary translation to intercept and translate privileged instructions from the guest operating systems to the physical hardware. This allows the VMs to run unmodified operating systems, as if they were running on dedicated physical hardware.

What are the benefits of Full Virtualization?

– Improved resource utilization: Full virtualization allows multiple VMs to run on a single physical server, maximizing the utilization of hardware resources.
– Cost savings: By consolidating multiple servers onto a single physical server, organizations can reduce hardware and maintenance costs.
– Increased flexibility: Full virtualization enables users to easily create, deploy, and manage VMs, making it easier to scale resources up or down as needed.
– Enhanced security: Each VM is isolated from the others, reducing the risk of security breaches and ensuring that one VM cannot access the data or resources of another.

What are the challenges of Full Virtualization?

– Performance overhead: Full virtualization introduces a layer of abstraction between the VMs and the physical hardware, which can result in a performance overhead compared to running on dedicated hardware.
– Resource contention: If multiple VMs on the same physical server compete for resources, it can lead to performance degradation for all VMs.
– Complexity: Managing multiple VMs and ensuring their security and performance can be complex and require specialized skills and tools.

What are some examples of Full Virtualization technologies?

– VMware vSphere: VMware vSphere is a popular full virtualization platform that allows users to create and manage VMs on a single physical server.
– Microsoft Hyper-V: Microsoft Hyper-V is a full virtualization solution that is included with Windows Server operating systems.
– KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine): KVM is an open-source full virtualization solution that is integrated into the Linux kernel.

How does Full Virtualization differ from other types of virtualization?

– Full virtualization vs. paravirtualization: In full virtualization, the guest operating systems run unmodified, while in paravirtualization, the guest operating systems are modified to be aware of the virtualization layer.
– Full virtualization vs. hardware-assisted virtualization: Full virtualization relies on software techniques such as binary translation, while hardware-assisted virtualization uses hardware extensions, such as Intel VT-x and AMD-V, to improve performance and efficiency.
– Full virtualization vs. containerization: Full virtualization creates isolated VMs with their own operating systems, while containerization uses a shared operating system and isolates applications into containers.