Full Virtualization


Full virtualization is a technology that enables the creation of virtual machines that completely simulate underlying hardware, allowing multiple operating systems to run simultaneously on a single host system. It relies on a hypervisor, a software layer responsible for allocating physical resources, managing guest operating systems, and maintaining system isolation. The technique effectively enhances resource utilization, simplifies management, and improves system flexibility and reliability.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Full Virtualization” is: /ful vɜrʧuəlɪzeɪʃən/

Key Takeaways

  1. Full virtualization allows for the creation of multiple virtual machines, each with its own guest operating system, on a single physical server, dramatically improving resource usage and cost efficiency.
  2. It relies on a hypervisor, which is software that manages the virtual machines and their access to the underlying hardware resources, such as CPU, memory, and storage, ensuring effective isolation and allocation among them.
  3. Full virtualization is hardware-independent, meaning that applications running on virtual machines are not directly tied to specific hardware configurations, enabling greater flexibility, easier deployment, and simplified migration to new hardware platforms.


Full virtualization is important because it allows for the efficient utilization of computer resources, enabling multiple operating systems and applications to run simultaneously, independently, and securely on a single physical machine.

This is achieved through the use of a virtual machine monitor or hypervisor, which creates an abstraction layer between the hardware and the operating systems, effectively isolating them from one another.

As a result, organizations can optimize their IT infrastructure, reduce hardware and energy costs, improve system flexibility, and accelerate the deployment of new applications and services.

Additionally, full virtualization contributes to enhanced disaster recovery and overall system stability, making it a valuable tool for businesses and developers alike.


Full Virtualization serves a myriad of purposes, among which the most significant is the efficient utilization of computing resources. This technology aims to optimize the computing infrastructure by allowing multiple operating systems or instances to run simultaneously on a single physical hardware. By doing so, it not only manages workloads seamlessly but also maximizes resource utilization.

Full virtualization permits IT departments to consolidate various servers onto a single piece of hardware, which in turn reduces the organization’s capital and operational expenses. Additionally, it empowers businesses to be more agile and responsive to ever-changing needs, as they can quickly deploy pre-configured virtual machines for specific tasks and scale the capacity up or down with ease. Furthermore, full virtualization is advantageous in terms of enhancing system reliability, security, and flexibility.

The isolation of the virtual machines from one another ensures that the malfunctioning of one does not affect the functioning of the others. This segregation also provides a secure environment, as it is far more difficult for an attacker to gain access to the entire infrastructure by affecting just one virtual machine. Moreover, virtualization facilitates workload balancing, making it easier to shift resources between virtual machines and ensuring their smooth operation.

The technology allows businesses and users to take regular snapshots of the virtualized environment, greatly improving the process of backup, restore, and disaster recovery. In conclusion, full virtualization is a vital technology that offers significant benefits in terms of resource optimization, cost reduction, security, reliability, and flexibility, making it indispensable for modern-day computing ecosystems.

Examples of Full Virtualization

VMware vSphere: VMware vSphere is a prominent full virtualization technology that enables multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical host. It provides a centralized platform to manage large-scale virtual infrastructure, ensuring efficient use of hardware resources while optimizing performance. Businesses widely use VMware vSphere to manage their data center needs, ranging from consolidation and cost reduction to business continuity and disaster recovery.

Microsoft Hyper-V: Microsoft Hyper-V is another example of full virtualization technology, which allows for the creation of virtual machines running different operating systems (such as Windows, Linux, etc.) on a single physical server. This technology has become an essential component of the Microsoft Windows Server operating system. Hyper-V helps organizations manage their IT infrastructure, optimize resource utilization, and improve overall operational efficiency.

Oracle VirtualBox: Oracle VirtualBox is an open-source full virtualization solution that supports various operating systems, including Windows, Linux, macOS, and Solaris. It enables users to create and manage multiple virtual machines, each running its own guest operating system, on a single physical host. VirtualBox is particularly popular among developers and IT professionals for testing, development, and deployment purposes, as it provides an easy-to-use and cost-effective virtualization platform.

Full Virtualization FAQ

What is full virtualization?

Full virtualization is a virtualization technique that allows multiple operating systems to run simultaneously on a single physical machine by emulating the underlying hardware. Each guest operating system runs in a completely isolated environment, providing a high level of security and independence from other virtual machines on the same host.

How does full virtualization work?

Full virtualization works by using a hypervisor, a software layer that sits between the physical hardware and the virtual machines. The hypervisor is responsible for managing resources, such as CPU, memory, and storage, for each virtual machine, as well as providing an interface for the guest OS to interact with the hardware. The hypervisor intercepts and emulates the hardware calls made by the guest OS, allowing multiple virtual machines to share the same hardware resources without interfering with each other.

What are the benefits of full virtualization?

Full virtualization offers a number of benefits, including increased server consolidation, improved resource utilization, and lower total cost of ownership. By allowing multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical machine, businesses can consolidate their servers, reducing the need for additional hardware. Full virtualization also provides better resource utilization, as the hypervisor can dynamically allocate resources to virtual machines as needed. Additionally, full virtualization enables rapid provisioning of new virtual machines, making it easier to scale applications and services as needed without purchasing new hardware.

What are the system requirements for running full virtualization?

System requirements for running full virtualization vary depending on the specific hypervisor used and the number of virtual machines being deployed. Generally, a system must have a CPU with virtualization support, such as Intel VT-x or AMD-V, ample RAM, and sufficient storage capacity to support the guest operating systems and their associated applications. Additionally, the host operating system and hardware should also be compatible with the chosen hypervisor.

What are some popular full virtualization platforms?

There are several popular full virtualization platforms available, including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Hypervisor, and KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine). Each of these platforms offers different features, performance, and management capabilities, making them suitable for varying use cases and business requirements.

Related Technology Terms

  • Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL)
  • Hypervisor
  • Guest Operating System
  • Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM)
  • Paravirtualization

Sources for More Information


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