The development process of virtualization


Virtualization is a very hot topic recently in IT industry, but what’s a
real virtualization?
You may know that Java is the most
popular programming language, and it is necessary to install JVM to let Java programs
run successfully. Maybe we have tried to use VMware Workstation on Windows to
install a Windows or Linux VM(Virtual Machine). However, JVM and VMware
virtualization are the applications of virtualization technology.


In accordance with the level of virtual machine implementation, virtualization
technology can be divided into the following categories: (1) Instruction-level virtualization, Bochs
and QEMU are typical products.


(2) Hardware-level virtualization, Xen, VMware ESX
Server, KVM and Virtual PC are typical products.


(3) Operating System level virtualization, Jail and Solaris
Container are typical products.


(4) Programming language level virtualization, JVM and .NET
CLI and typical products.


(5) Programming library level virtualization, WINE and
LxRun are typical products.


The origin of virtualization technology can be traced back to the end of 50's
of the 20th century, but its real development is from the beginning of 60s of the
20th century. In order to make expensive hardware resources fully utilized, IBM
firstly invented operating system virtualization technology, which allow users
to run multiple operating systems in one computer, and IBM 7044 is a typical
representative. Over the same period, another virtualization technology is emulation
processor, which is also called P-code machine. P-code model is used in JVM, and
can make Java programs "compile once,
run everywhere." In 70’s,80’s of the 20th century, with the development of
computer technology, virtualization technology gradually become out of market,
but exists in high-end servers. In the end of 90's, virtualization software
manufacturers like VMware take the lead in the implementation of VMM-centric
solutions. What followed are some kinds of "para-virtualization"
technology such as Denali project and
Xen project, and Intel's VT and AMD's SVM based hardware virtualization
technology.
It can be seen that virtualization
has been developing rapidly in recent years. Take Sun for example, Solaris 10 is
the cornerstone of Sun’s virtualization strategy. LDoms, Solaris Container and
Dynamic System Domain (DSD) in Sun’s high-end servers, together constitute Sun’s
server virtualization solutions. As one of a series of innovative technologies
in Solaris 10, Solaris Container, allow simultaneously run multiple Solaris
instances in a Solaris operating system, in order to let a number of
applications’s virtualization and integration on a single system. In the field
of desktop virtualization, Sun's VirtualBox is a small, free and open-source software
for virtualization, which can support almost all the mainstream operating
systems. Sun expanded its powerful suite of virtualization products, such as xVM
Server and xVM Ops Center 2.0, which are important components of Sun's
comprehensive virtualization, allow more user-friendly management of a variety
of complex services and resources, in order to achieve an unparalleled system
performance.


As administrative overhead in hardware and software is increasing year by
year, virtualization can effectively reduce management cost to improve system
utilization; At the same time, virtualization technology can achieve the
dynamic deployment and distribution of resources, so that it can meet the
complex and diverse needs from enterprise of users. In addition, virtualization
technology brings higher system security, availability, and scalability.
However, virtualization technology is not perfect, such as the injection of the
performance of virtualization overhead can not satisfy its demand for
high-performance computing, and multi-machine virtualization is still in the
initial stage of research, virtualization security mechanisms and performance
evaluation still need further research and development.
At present, a lot of IT companies are
already into cloud computing, and virtualization is the cornerstone of cloud computing
and the next generation of data center. We firmly believe that virtualization
technology will have very broad application prospects.

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