What is Hypervisor in Cloud Computing?


Hypervisor in Cloud Computing

Hypervisors play a crucial role in cloud computing by enabling the virtualization of resources and the efficient utilization of hardware. A hypervisor, also known as a virtual machine monitor (VMM), is a software or hardware layer that allows multiple virtual machines (VMs) to run on a single physical server. In this article, we will explore what a hypervisor is, its types, functionalities, and its significance in cloud computing.

Definition and Purpose of a Hypervisor

A hypervisor is a software or hardware component that enables the creation, management, and execution of multiple virtual machines on a single physical server. Its primary purpose is to abstract the underlying hardware resources and provide a virtualized environment for running multiple operating systems and applications. The hypervisor allows the isolation and efficient sharing of physical resources among virtual machines, maximizing resource utilization and flexibility.

Types of Hypervisors

Type 1 Hypervisor (Bare-Metal Hypervisor) - these run directly on the physical server hardware, without the need for an underlying operating system. They provide direct access to hardware resources and offer superior performance. Type 1 hypervisors are typically used in enterprise-level virtualization deployments and are known for their reliability, security, and scalability. Examples include VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenServer.

Type 2 Hypervisor (Hosted Hypervisor) - these run on top of an existing operating system and are installed as software applications. They provide a virtualization layer between the host operating system and the virtual machines. Type 2 hypervisors are easier to install and manage, making them suitable for desktop virtualization and testing environments. Examples include VMware Workstation, Oracle VirtualBox, and Microsoft Virtual PC.

Functionality of Hypervisors

1) Virtual Machine Creation and Management: Hypervisors enable the creation of virtual machines by allocating hardware resources, such as CPU, memory, storage, and network interfaces, to each virtual machine. They provide tools for managing virtual machines, including provisioning, configuration, and migration.

2) Resource Allocation and Sharing: Hypervisors allocate and manage physical resources among virtual machines, ensuring fair sharing and efficient utilization. They dynamically adjust resource allocation based on demand, allowing virtual machines to scale up or down as needed.

3) Isolation and Security: Hypervisors provide strong isolation between virtual machines, ensuring that each virtual machine operates independently of others. This isolation prevents the interference of one virtual machine with others, enhancing security and stability. Hypervisors also offer features like secure boot, encrypted storage, and network isolation to further enhance security.

4) Live Migration: Hypervisors facilitate live migration, allowing virtual machines to be moved between physical servers without interrupting their operation. Live migration enables load balancing, improves hardware maintenance, and provides fault tolerance in case of hardware failures.

5) Snapshot and Backup: Hypervisors often offer snapshot and backup capabilities, allowing administrators to capture the state of virtual machines at a specific point in time. Snapshots enable easy restoration of virtual machines to a previous state, while backups provide data protection and disaster recovery options.

Hypervisor in Cloud Computing

In cloud computing, hypervisors are integral to the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model. They enable the virtualization of physical servers, creating a pool of resources that can be allocated to virtual machines on-demand. Hypervisors in cloud computing offer the following advantages:

Resource Consolidation: Hypervisors allow for the consolidation of multiple virtual machines on a single physical server, reducing hardware costs and improving resource utilization.

Scalability and Elasticity: With hypervisors, virtual machines can be easily provisioned or decommissioned based on workload demands, providing scalability and elasticity to cloud environments.

Multi-Tenancy: Hypervisors enable the isolation of virtual machines, allowing multiple tenants to share the same physical infrastructure securely. This ensures data separation and privacy in a multi-tenant cloud environment.

High Availability: Hypervisors support features such as live migration and fault tolerance, ensuring high availability of virtual machines and minimizing downtime.

Flexibility and Customization: Hypervisors provide flexibility to configure virtual machines with different operating systems, applications, and resource allocations, catering to diverse user requirements.


Hypervisors are a critical component of cloud computing infrastructure, enabling the virtualization and efficient utilization of resources. Whether it's the Type 1 hypervisors running directly on hardware or the Type 2 hypervisors operating on top of an existing operating system, their functionalities of virtual machine creation, resource allocation, isolation, live migration, and backup make them indispensable in cloud environments. With the advent of cloud computing, hypervisors have become instrumental in delivering the scalability, flexibility, and cost efficiency that organizations require to meet their computing needs.

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