Virtualization has been around for quite a long time. It has evolved from a technology used mainly to save space into a corporate strategy that has been adopted worldwide. It is the most effective way to improve IT efficiency while also cutting down on costs.

Virtualization makes use of software called hypervisor to simulate the underlying hardware to create a virtual computer system. It abstracts physical hardware to provision resources like processor, storage, and network for the workloads. Abstraction enables the system to host multiple workloads at the same time, leading resource optimization which in turn helps you cut down on cost, energy, and space.

The software layer (hypervisor), traditionally called the virtual machine monitor, provides the layer of abstraction. It handles requests between the physical and virtual resources and manages the support of virtual machines. It enables multiple operating systems to share the same hardware, and it allocates what portion of hardware resources each workload should get.

The hypervisor is of two types – Type-1 and Type-2.

Type-1 and Type-2 Hypervisors

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In this post, let’s explore the two types of hypervisors, their usage and the differences between them with examples so that businesses can choose one based on their requirement.

Type-1 Hypervisor:

This hypervisor runs directly on the host machine’s physical hardware, so it’s also called bare-metal hypervisor. It is installed directly on top of the physical server’s hardware, there is no operating system or any other software layer in between. What we have in this case is

  • A physical server/machine
  • Hypervisor installed on the hardware
  • Guest virtual machines

Type-1 hypervisors are actually a very basic OS on top of which we run virtual machines. So the physical machine on which the hypervisor is running can only be used for virtualization purposes and nothing else.

These hypervisors require a separate management console to perform activities like instance creation, migration, etc. The management console can be web-based or a separate package that you can install on another machine. Using this console, you can connect to the hypervisor to manage your virtual environment operations.

Advantages of Type-1 hypervisor

Great performance: They are not constrained by the inherent limitations that come with OSes, and hence can provide great performance. This is one reason why we can find type-1 hypervisors in enterprise setups.

Highly secure: Since they run directly on the physical hardware without any underlying OS, they are secure from the flaws and vulnerabilities that are often endemic to OSes. This ensures that every VM is isolated from any malicious software activity.

Type-1 Hypervisor Vendors – VMware vSphere with ESX/ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Hypervisor (Xen Server).

Know more on VMware and Microsoft’s Hyper-V type-1 hypervisors here.

Type-2 Hypervisor:

This hypervisor runs on the operating system of the physical host machine, hence they are also called hosted hypervisors. These hypervisors are hosted on the OS, and the hypervisor runs on that layer as another software to enable virtualization. What we have in this case is

  • A physical server
  • OS installed on that server hardware (OSes like Windows, Linux, macOS)
  • Type-2 hypervisor on that OS
  • Virtual machine instances/guest VMs

These hypervisors are usually used in environments where there are a small number of servers. They do not need a separate management console to set up and manage the virtual machines. These operations can typically be done on the server that has the hypervisor hosted. This hypervisor is basically treated as an application on your host system.

Advantages of Type-2 hypervisor

Simple management: They essentially act as management consoles. There is no need to install a separate software package to manage the virtual machines running on type-2 hypervisors.

Useful for testing purposes: They are convenient for testing any new software or research projects. You can simply run multiple instances with different OSes to test how the software works in each environment.

Type 2 Hypervisor Vendors – VMware Workstation Pro/VMware Fusion, Oracle VirtualBox, etc

Difference between type 1 and type 2 hypervisor

The right type of hypervisor depends strictly on your business size and requirements.

  • Type-1 hypervisors are most suited for enterprise setups, though sometimes you may need to take stock of your requirements and maybe opt for type-2 if the functionality offered by the type-1 hypervisor is more than what you require.
  • Type-2 hypervisors are best suited for personal/small deployments.

The most critical factor is the cost of licensing. They are available as per server, per CPU or per core models. Many vendors offer different licensing types to accommodate different needs. You can create a list of your requirements like how many VMs you require, resources available and then choose a product after a brief trial.

Concluding thoughts

Whatever be your environment, data protection is a must-have nowadays. With the rising amount of data threats and ransomware attacks, it is always wise to have a backup of your data.

Vembu BDR Suite is one such solution that offers comprehensive backup & disaster recovery with which you can protect data residing on your virtual & physical environment.

Be it type-1 or type-2 hypervisor, Vembu provides solutions to backup your VMs on both.

  • Agentless Image-based backups for VMs running VMware and Hyper-V
    • VMware Backup & Replication
    • Host level Hyper-V Backup
  • Agent-based backups for VMs running on other hypervisors like Xen Server, VirtualBox, etc

Download the full-featured 30-day free trial of our latest version Vembu BDR Suite v4.1.0 and experience modern data protection for your environment.

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