What is a Hypervisor?

by The Editor [Published on 2 June 2008 / Last Updated on 2 June 2008]

A definition of what a hypervisor is and what role it plays in a virtual infrastructure.

You can think of a Hypervisor as the kernel or the core of a virtualization platform. The Hypervisor is also called the Virtual Machine Monitor. The Hypervisor has access to the physical host hardware.

Of the total amount of disk space taken for a virtualization platform (like Hyper-V or VMware ESX), the Hypervisor is, by far, the smallest part. A Type 1 Hypervisor runs on the bare metal of the hardware. Examples of a Type 1 Hypervisor are Hyper-V and ESX Server. A Type 2 Hypervisor is hosted by an operating system. Examples of a Type 2 Hypervisor are VMware Server and Microsoft Virtual Server.

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