What is Hypervisor and Its Functions in Virtualization?

  1. Introduction to Hypervisor
  2. Types of Hypervisors
  3. Bare-Metal Hypervisor
  4. Hosted Hypervisor
  5. Functions of Hypervisor
  6. Resource Allocation and Management
  7. Virtual Machine Creation and Management
  8. Hardware Emulation
  9. Isolation and Security
  10. Performance Monitoring and Optimization
  11. Live Migration
  12. Snapshot and Backup
  13. High Availability and Fault Tolerance
  14. Network Virtualization
  15. Conclusion

Introduction to Hypervisor

A hypervisor, also known as a virtual machine monitor (VMM), is a software or hardware component that enables virtualization on a physical server or computer. It allows multiple virtual machines (VMs) to run on a single physical machine, effectively maximizing resource utilization and improving efficiency.

Types of Hypervisors

There are two main types of hypervisors: bare-metal hypervisors and hosted hypervisors.

Bare-Metal Hypervisor

A bare-metal hypervisor, also known as a Type 1 hypervisor, runs directly on the physical hardware without the need for an underlying operating system. It provides direct access to the hardware resources, allowing for better performance and efficiency. Examples of bare-metal hypervisors include VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenServer.

Hosted Hypervisor

A hosted hypervisor, also known as a Type 2 hypervisor, runs on top of an existing operating system. It relies on the underlying operating system for hardware access and management. Examples of hosted hypervisors include VMware Workstation, Oracle VirtualBox, and Microsoft Virtual PC.

Functions of Hypervisor

A hypervisor performs several key functions in virtualization:

Resource Allocation and Management

The hypervisor manages the allocation of physical resources, such as CPU, memory, storage, and network bandwidth, among the virtual machines. It ensures fair distribution of resources and prevents one VM from monopolizing the resources, leading to performance degradation.

Virtual Machine Creation and Management

The hypervisor allows for the creation, deployment, and management of virtual machines. It provides the necessary tools and interfaces to create VMs, allocate resources to them, and manage their lifecycle, including starting, stopping, pausing, and deleting VMs.

Hardware Emulation

The hypervisor emulates virtual hardware components for each virtual machine, allowing them to run different operating systems and applications independently. It abstracts the underlying physical hardware, providing a consistent and standardized interface for the VMs.

Isolation and Security

The hypervisor ensures strong isolation between virtual machines, preventing them from interfering with each other. It provides a secure environment where each VM operates independently, protecting the integrity and confidentiality of the data and applications running within the VMs.

Performance Monitoring and Optimization

The hypervisor monitors the performance of the virtual machines and the underlying physical hardware. It collects data on resource usage, CPU utilization, memory usage, disk I/O, and network traffic. This information is used to optimize resource allocation, identify performance bottlenecks, and improve overall system performance.

Live Migration

Live migration is a feature provided by some hypervisors that allows for the seamless movement of a running VM from one physical host to another without any noticeable downtime. It enables workload balancing, hardware maintenance, and high availability.

Snapshot and Backup

The hypervisor allows for the creation of snapshots, which are point-in-time copies of a virtual machine’s state. Snapshots can be used for backup purposes, allowing for easy restoration of VMs to a previous state. They also enable testing and experimentation without the risk of permanently modifying the original VM.

High Availability and Fault Tolerance

Hypervisors offer features for high availability and fault tolerance, ensuring that virtual machines remain accessible and operational even in the event of hardware failures or host crashes. These features include automatic VM restart, failover clustering, and replication.

Network Virtualization

Some hypervisors provide network virtualization capabilities, allowing for the creation of virtual networks and the isolation of network traffic between VMs. This enables more flexible network configurations, improved security, and easier management of network resources.


In conclusion, a hypervisor is a crucial component of virtualization, enabling the efficient utilization of physical resources and the management of multiple virtual machines. It performs functions such as resource allocation, virtual machine creation and management, hardware emulation, isolation and security, performance monitoring and optimization, live migration, snapshot and backup, high availability, fault tolerance, and network virtualization. By understanding the role and functions of a hypervisor, organizations can leverage virtualization technology to enhance their IT infrastructure and achieve greater efficiency and flexibility.

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