What is a hypervisor?

traffic cop intersectionSome may have trouble visualizing what a hypervisor is. Let’s look at a possible example:

Imagine if you will: You have reached a busy intersection and the light is out due to a power outage. There is a police officer standing in the middle of the intersection directing traffic.

The officer is making sure that the vehicles have the correct turn to get through the intersection. The officer is even watching for the pedestrians to make sure they are able to cross the street without incident. The officer, for all intents and purposes, is the traffic light.

Now, imagine the officer doing this at rush hour in New York City!

The hypervisor is the officer directing the traffic. Let’s put some technology behind this concept.

A hypervisor, also called a virtual machine manager, is a program that allows multiple operating systems to share a single hardware host. Each operating system appears to have the host’s processor, memory, and other resources all to itself. However, the hypervisor is actually controlling the host processor and resources, allocating what is needed to each operating system in turn and making sure that the guest operating systems (called virtual machines) cannot disrupt each other.

What are your thoughts?

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Comments: 17
David Beaumont

About David Beaumont

David Beaumont is a Staff Software Engineer with IBM. In this role, David is a contributor in the Managed Service area where he provides client support to a number of clients with regard to EDI and SaaS related services. David is a qualified support professional, HDI Certified and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Finance from The Ohio State University. David has more than 15 years of experience in customer service, EDI and client support. To contact David please email dbeaumont16@gmail.com. Feel free to comment on his blog: http://onthecloud.blog.com/
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17 Responses to What is a hypervisor?

  1. Srini says:

    An operating system allows multiple programs to share the same processor, memory and other resources, at the same time. Similarly a Hypervisor is a special software that allows multiple Operating systems to share the same processor, memory and other resources at the same time. Simple enough?

  2. Shubham Anand says:

    I see it's much similar to a kernel of an OS where it administrate the sharing of computing resources & acts as an interface b/w machine and OS. Isn't it?

  3. Yes, I think you are both correct in your responses. With the Hypervisor in place the virtual machines should not interfere with one another.

  4. bon says:

    A hypervisor is essentially the host computer on which the virtual machines are created.

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