The Truth About The Hypervisor

by Data Holdings

What is a Hypervisor?

A hypervisor is software that manages one or more virtual machines. A virtual machine (VM) is a network-based physical computer system that can be located on or off-premises. Sometimes called a virtual machine monitor (VMM), the hypervisor manages those VMs, and the compute resources associated with them. 

Those resources are attached device drivers, machine memory manager, process scheduler, data input/output (I/O) stack, machine security and network protocol stack. The hypervisor easily reallocates shared resources like memory and storage between connected VMs. While the hypervisor manages the resources and scheduling of VMs against the physical resources, the physical hardware still does the execution.

What Does it Do?

The hypervisor software allows multiple operating systems to run alongside each other and share the same hardware resources. This is a key benefit of virtualization – without it, you can only run one operating system on the hardware, which requires unnecessary resource duplication.

What Does it Cost?

Proprietary hypervisor licensing fees are expensive. A salesperson sells proprietary hypervisor software (Hyper-V or VMware) to a business and that business is contractually obliged to pay for the proprietary software and licensing fees for as long as they keep that hypervisor. The IT team becomes used to using that particular software, and the annual hypervisor charges become an ingrained cost of doing business; an embedded number that is certain to escalate on an annual basis.

What Makes a Hypervisor Proprietary?

Companies take the basic Open-Source hypervisor code and add layers of complexity that add proprietary features. If a business wants the extra features in addition to the basic functionality, they must pay the software company to use them.

Who Uses a Proprietary Hypervisor?

Only enterprise business entities use such proprietary software. Such businesses rely on the vendors to manage and maintain the software, in addition to advising them how best to use it and adding occasional new feature layers of complexity.

Which Hypervisor Do We Use?

Data Holdings uses an Open-Source software hypervisor called KVM. There are no licensing costs associated with KVM because it is Open-Source, though there are relatively small costs for the management and maintaining of the software by third-party companies that Data Holdings pays for. 

Who Else Uses KVM?

KVM is also used on a massive scale by Amazon Web Services, Google and IBM for their clouds, because it is much cheaper than using a proprietary hypervisor and is just as efficient. Running either cloud operation on proprietary software would be cost prohibitive. Because proprietary Hyper-V is owned by Microsoft, Azure avoids hypervisor licensing costs.

For more information about KVM and how Open-Source software can save your business thousands of dollars per year, please contact Data Holdings. We’d enjoy talking about your IT environment and how we can add value and simplicity to your business technology needs.

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