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Keeping them apart!

How hypervisors help to handle multiple operating systems. By Graham Pitcher.

As diligent students of The Bible will know, there is nothing new under the Sun. So when a particular technical term suddenly gains currency, the more suspicious will often look to the history books.
Two such terms currently in circulation are ‘virtualisation’ and ‘hypervisor’. But would you be surprised to discover that both technologies have been around for many years? The word ‘hypervisor’, for example, is believed to have been coined in 1972, first appearing in documentation supporting a software upgrade to IBM’s System/370 mainframes.
So why is there now so much fuss about hypervisors? The answer is the emergence of multicore processors. And are the words ‘virtualisation’ and ‘hypervisor’ interchangeable? The answer, says Sebastien Marineau, vp of R&D for QNX, is no. “Virtualisation is simulating a process running on the same or different processors. A hypervisor, however, is a layer underneath an operating system which makes it look like there are multiple chips.”

Graham Pitcher

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13811\Keeping Them Apart.pdf

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