Author Topic: The Xen hypervisor: the open source industry standard for server virtualization  (Read 2502 times)

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The Xen hypervisor is the open source industry standard for server virtualization

What is Xen?

The Xen® hypervisor, the powerful open source industry standard for virtualization, offers a powerful, efficient, and secure feature set for virtualization of x86, x86_64, IA64, ARM, and other CPU architectures. It supports a wide range of guest operating systems including Windows®, Linux®, Solaris®, and various versions of the BSD operating systems.

Xen Hypervisor - Leading Open Source Hypervisor for Servers

Server Virtualization with the Xen Hypervisor
Enterprises looking to increase server utilization, consolidate server farms, reduce complexity, and decrease total cost of ownership are embracing server virtualization. The Xen® hypervisor is the fastest and most secure infrastructure virtualization solution available today, supporting a wide range of guest operating systems including Windows®, Linux®, Solaris®, and various versions of the BSD operating systems.

With Xen virtualization, a thin software layer known as the Xen hypervisor is inserted between the server's hardware and the operating system. This provides an abstraction layer that allows each physical server to run one or more "virtual servers", effectively decoupling the operating system and its applications from the underlying physical server.

The Xen hypervisor is a unique open source technology, developed collaboratively by the Xen community and engineers at over 50 of the most innovative data center solution vendors, including AMD, Cisco, Dell, Fujistu, HP, IBM, Intel, Mellanox, Network Appliance, Novell, Red Hat, Samsung, SGI, Sun, Unisys, Veritas, Voltaire, and Citrix. Xen is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL2) and is available at no charge in both source and object format. Xen is, and always will be, open sourced, uniting the industry and the Xen ecosystem to speed the adoption of virtualization in the enterprise.

The Xen hypervisor is also exceptionally lean-- less than 150,000 lines of code. That translates to extremely low overhead and near-native performance for guests. Xen re-uses existing device drivers (both closed and open source) from Linux, making device management easy. Moreover Xen is robust to device driver failure and protects both guests and the hypervisor from faulty or malicious drivers.

The history of the community and Xen hypervisor project is available on the Xen history page.
Xen Community Deliverables
The open source Xen community currently delivers several solutions for use by customers, software and hardware vendors, researchers, developers, hobbyists, etc.

    * Xen Hypervisor - Leading open source hypervisor for servers Learn More
    * XCI - Xen hypervisor for client devices Learn More
    * Xen Cloud Platform - Enteprise cloud solution stack for virtualization Learn More
    * Projects
          o HXEN - Xen running as a Type 2 hypervisor Learn More
          o Xen ARM - Port of Xen hypervisor to ARM processor Learn More
          o Project Satori - Support for paravirtualized Xen Linux guests running on Hyper-V Learn More

The community also supports a variety of solutions built for and around the Xen Hypervisor.

Thoughts on Xen - The Xen architecture is the most well thought-out virtualization technique on the market. There is simply no rival to the Xen currently. KVM is very good, no doubt, but is totally dependent on the CPU with virtualization support built-in. Xen can operate on a wide variety of architectures as well as older CPUS, without supporting full virtualization. What attracted me the most to Xen, is the ability it gives to administrators for better hardware sizing, dramatically reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by reducing energy consumption and as a direct consequence, reducing the effects of global warming. In Brazil, for example, we see many companies, including the government and military, installing expensive servers to host only one Bind9 with a few domains! It is a BIG waste! And Xen has come to end this waste of computer resources. In my company, we reduced one hundred servers with Linux by a factor of ten with Xen! Imagine the amount of electricity that's not being consumed anymore. Our business continues to function normally and now with full high-availability among other new features provided by mechanisms of Xen itself.


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