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Oracle® VM Server User's Guide
Release 2.1

Part Number E10898-04
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1 Introduction to Virtualization

This Chapter provides introductory information on virtualization. It discusses why you would want to use virtualization, the technology provided, and features of Oracle VM. It contains the following sections:

1.1 What is Virtualization?

Virtualization is the ability to run multiple virtual machines on a single piece of hardware. The hardware runs software which enables you to install multiple operating systems which are able to run simultaneously and independently, in their own secure environment, with minimal reduction in performance. Each virtual machine has its own virtual CPU, network interfaces, storage and operating system.

1.2 Why Virtualize?

With increased server provisioning in the datacenter, several factors play a role in stifling growth. Increased power and cooling costs, physical space constraints, man power and interconnection complexity all contribute significantly to the cost and feasibility of continued expansion.

Commodity hardware manufacturers have begun to address some of these concerns by shifting their design goals. Rather than focus solely on raw gigahertz performance, manufacturers have enhanced the feature sets of CPUs and chip sets to include lower wattage CPUs, multiple cores per CPU die, advanced power management, and a range of virtualization features. By employing appropriate software to enable these features, several advantages are realized:

1.3 Xen™ Technology

The Xen hypervisor is a small, lightweight, software virtual machine monitor, for x86-compatible computers. The Xen hypervisor securely executes multiple virtual machines on one physical system. Each virtual machine has its own guest operating system with almost native performance. The Xen hypervisor was originally created by researchers at Cambridge University, and derived from work done on the Linux kernel.

The Xen hypervisor has been improved and included with Oracle VM Server.

1.4 Oracle VM

Oracle VM is a platform that provides a fully equipped environment for better leveraging the benefits of virtualization technology. Oracle VM enables you to deploy operating systems and application software within a supported virtualization environment. The components of Oracle VM are:

Figure 1-1, "Oracle VM Architecture" shows the components of Oracle VM.

Figure 1-1 Oracle VM Architecture

Description of Figure 1-1 follows
Description of "Figure 1-1 Oracle VM Architecture"

This book discusses Oracle VM Server, and the Oracle VM Agent. See the Oracle VM Manager Installation Guide and the Oracle VM Manager User's Guide for information on installing, and using Oracle VM Manager, and managing Oracle VM Servers.