What is Xen Virtualization?

Xen VirtualizationWhen looking at the different virtualization options available for businesses, it is sometimes hard to tell the differences between them.  Here is a simple explanation of what Xen Virtualization is and how it might fit into your business.

To start, a simple definition of virtualization is to create a virtual version of either an operating system, server, storage device, or network process.  Xen virtualization is open source software that can run on x86-compatible computers.  Open source is great because it allows other users to modify and change the program’s code based on their business’ specific needs.  Some users even fix known security issues to make sure everyone using Xen is safe.

Xen virtualization allows a user to create multiple guest operating systems on a single computer by using a program called hypervisor.  Hypervisor directs hardware access based on the information from the client’s computer.  Xen Hypervisor is part of Red Hat Linux and is described as “integrated virtualization.”  A small drawback of Xen Virtualization is that you have to compile the necessary kernel extensions to ensure Xen works on your Linux machine.  While this may be simple for an expert computer user, a novice will have a difficult time doing this.  When implemented, your users will have access to fully emulated PC hardware.

There is also another type of Xen virtualization called Paravirtualization.  This is a lightweight and efficient virtualization technique that was pioneered by Xen.  When using this, the host CPU does not need virtualization extensions, however, the guest machines still require the special kernel needed to run natively on Xen.  In addition, Paravirtualization users do not have a graphical interface to interact with, but it is possible by using a guest paravirtual framebuffer.  The trade off is that Xen paravirtualization is faster than Xen hypervisor because the required emulation does not have to be processed.

Xen Virtualization is a great way to add to your network by reducing the amount of hardware your business requires.  At Atlantic.Net, we can assist your business with Xen or any other virtualization your company may require.  Have more questions about virtualization?  Our friendly and knowledgeable staff can assist you with any questions you may have.  Call us today at 1-800-521-5881.