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What is a hypervisor?

traffic cop intersectionSome may have trouble visualizing what a hypervisor is. Let’s look at a possible example:

Imagine if you will: You have reached a busy intersection and the light is out due to a power outage. There is a police officer standing in the middle of the intersection directing traffic.

The officer is making sure that the vehicles have the correct turn to get through the intersection. The officer is even watching for the pedestrians to make sure they are able to cross the street without incident. The officer, for all intents and purposes, is the traffic light.

Now, imagine the officer doing this at rush hour in New York City!

The hypervisor is the officer directing the traffic. Let’s put some technology behind this concept.

A hypervisor, also called a virtual machine manager, is a program that allows multiple operating systems to share a single hardware host. Each operating system appears to have the host’s processor, memory, and other resources all to itself. However, the hypervisor is actually controlling the host processor and resources, allocating what is needed to each operating system in turn and making sure that the guest operating systems (called virtual machines) cannot disrupt each other.

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