The Xen hypervisor is an open-source BareMetal hypervisor, which makes it possible to run many instances of an operating system or indeed different operating systems in parallel on a single machine (or host) and it's the only hypervisor that is available as open source. It is used as the basis for a number of different commercial and open source applications, such as: server virtualization, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), desktop virtualization, security applications, etc.
Modes of Operation
Xen supports different types of guest operating system: HVM (hardware virtual machine), HVM with PV drivers, PVHVM (HVM with PVHVM drivers), PVH (PV in an HVM container) and PV (Para virtualization).
Xen hypervisor supports multiple guest operating systems such as Linux, Windows, FreeBSD and multiple Cloud platforms like Cloud Stack, OpenStack, etc with high performance and efficiency.
live migrate" Xen virtual machines between physical hosts across a LAN without loss of availability. During this procedure, the LAN iteratively copies the memory of the virtual machine to the destination with no data loss.
Using Para Virtualization (PV), the hypervisor supports a maximum of 512 VCPUs with 512Gb RAM per guest. Using Hardware Virtualization (HVM), it supports a maximum of 128 VCPUs with 1Tb RAM per guest.
Provides a high level of security due to its modular architecture, which separates the hypervisor from the control and guest operating systems. The hypervisor itself is thin and thus provides a minimal attack surface.
The hypervisor works on older hardware using paravirtualization, on newer hardware using HVM or PV on HVM enabling a degree of scalability, robustness, and security even for large, critical environments.
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