X86 virtualization

A Secure Virtual Machine or short SVM is a special virtual machine that enables improved virtualization through instruction set extensions.

AMD and Intel have developed with AMD - V or Intel VT independently corresponding instruction set extensions for the x86 architecture. Both extensions are not compatible with each other, but work on the same basic principle.

IBM uses this technology server partitioning in its power processors on AIX (eg System p ) as well as its IBM mainframes IBM System z LPAR calls this technology.

The main advantage over software solutions is the increased speed that can provide a hardware solution, because the virtualization is built directly into the I / O bridges of the computer.

Advantages of hardware-based virtualization

When using virtualization software such as VMware is one of the main problems is the execution speed. A pure emulation of the computer hardware is expensive and inefficient. So Bochs values ​​for an example system are given for the pure software emulator, that suggests that the emulation speed of less than 5%.

Modern virtualization software such as VMware or VirtualBox improve execution speed by the largest possible part of the binary code of the host system directly ( "native" ) are executed by the processor of the host system. Of course, there are also parts of the code where this is not possible in principle: they must normally hardware elements such as graphics and network card be emulated in any case on the target system. Effectively reach systems such VirtualBox and VMware execution speeds in the range between 50% and 80 % of the speed of the host system. In order to achieve even higher values ​​, using appropriate modifications of the operating system kernel emulation overhead can be reduced. This also known as " paravirtualization " designated approach is followed, for example, Xen, is only possible with guest systems in which an adjustment to the virtualization interface is possible. This is in open source operating systems such as Linux or NetBSD the case with proprietary operating systems like Microsoft Windows but only for individual devices using special drivers.

Supports one processor technologies such as Intel VT or AMD -V, and a non- open source operating system can be run in virtualized high speed because more critical parts of the code can be executed directly by the processor here. In addition to a potentially higher speed hardware virtualization enables an even better separation of the guest from the host system and reduces the virtualization effort. An example of a solution that takes full advantage of hardware virtualization, Linux represents the KVM system


In particular Intel imagines that are made possible with a SVM Home Entertainment Server that feed the entire household with central data such as music, video and Internet.

In the area of ​​high-performance server, this technique can be used to make more efficient use of resources when running applications on different operating systems or different versions of the same operating system or settings that are not fully utilizing a (fast) computer. The mutual isolation of different operating systems guarantees.

Other applications could be the solution can also be found in the private sector in security- conscious customers. Since two operating systems can run simultaneously and thereby independently, it is possible, for example, Linux for ordinary office work and continuous use, and also to use Windows to play.

Even so, software developers between two operating systems can select, so as to check the compatibility on different platforms. Thus it can be made ​​without restarting a change of operating systems.

However, the new technique for the application requires, of course, supported by virtualization software, which can be Virtual PC for example, by adapting products such as Xen, VMware or Windows. These products are been already comparable solutions based on pure software ready, which, however, does not reach the speed of a hardware solution. IBM's Processor Resource / System Manager (PR / SM), Xen and Parallels Workstation make these hardware functions of the CPUs used in each case already to use and so enable parallel execution of multiple operating systems with significantly better performance than conventional programs.


  • Virtualization