Hardware Virtualization

Hardware Virtualization is the creation of virtual machines and environments based on the processor architecture. Allows you to create multiple guest operating systems on the same processor, distributing cores between them.

This approach allows you to create many isolated virtual systems on the same hardware.

The principle of operation

Hardware virtualization (HV) is only possible on processors that support the Virtual Machine Extension (VMX) instruction set. They provide direct access from the virtual machine OS to the resources of the central processor(s). Such operating systems are also called “guest” because they are running in a virtual environment.

To create virtual machines, specialized software called Hypervisor is used. It just divides the guest OS into objects independent of each other, which at the same time share common server resources.

The advantage of this separation is that virtual machines cannot affect the speed of others and change the allocated amount of resources.

Virtualization Solutions


Main functions

Any hardware virtualization must provide the following functions for stable operation:

  1. Virtualization of processors. All technologies and instructions that are available to the physical processor become available to the virtual processor.
  2. Graphical representations. Isolated access of the guest OS to the graphics adapter is provided.
  3. Input/Output (I/O). The hypervisor shares access to I/O devices and other peripherals between virtual systems without conflicts and freezes.

Intel and AMD

Two competing companies, Intel and AMD, were the first to create hardware virtualization. The technologies are called Intel-VT and AMD-V, respectively. There is a significant difference between them.

When using Intel processors, they first launch their own development called Virtual Machine Monitor/Manager (VMM), which activates virtualization mode. System administrators create and manage virtual machines through VMM.

AMD is powered by its own Direct Connect technology. After its launch, VMM considers that all operating systems that are running on hardware with an AMD processor are guest.

Hardware virtualization ensures reliable and stable VM creation on a single physical hardware. In 2021, all Intel and AMD processors support hardware virtualization with the required instruction set.

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