Guide to Server Virtualization – Part 2

Guide to Server Virtualization – Part 2

Three Server Virtualization Types

Three methods are used for creating virtual servers. Full Virtualization, Paravirtualization, and OS-level Virtualization has several traits in common. A physical server is termed as the host, while virtual servers are termed guests.

1) Full Virtualization or Virtual Machine

Full virtualization utilizes hypervisor software, which works within the CPU and disk space of a physical server. Serving as the platform for the operating systems of the virtual servers, the hypervisor ensures every virtual server is totally independent and does not know other virtual servers are running within the physical machine. A virtual server can run an OS that is its own and different from the others. Monitoring physical server resources, a hypervisor allocates what is needed by each virtual (guest) server.

2) Paravirtualization

In contrast to full virtualization, the guest servers in a paravirtualization configuration are aware of each another. Moreover, the paravirtualization hypervisor does not require the processing power that full virtualization requires for the management of guest operating systems. This is due to the fact that every guest server’s OS has awareness of the physical server demands of all the other operating systems.

3) OS-level Virtualization

OS-level virtualization does not require a hypervisor because its virtualization capability is a component of the host OS, which will perform a fully virtualized hypervisor’s functions. Every guest server is independent, but each must utilize an identical operating system as all the others in what is termed a homogeneous environment.


The type of virtualization that should be deployed is dependent on the needs of the network administrator. When all physical servers use the same operating system, the OS-level method may be the right fit. This approach has the tendency to function with more speed and efficiency than the other methods. However, if servers are running on multiple types of operating systems, paravirtualization may be the best approach. As it is new technology still gaining traction, there is limited technical support available in contrast to full virtualization.

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