The Xen hypervisor is an open-source BareMetal hypervisor, which makes it possible to run many instances of an operating system or indeed different operating systems in parallel on a single machine (or host) and it's the only hypervisor that is available as open source. It is used as the basis for a number of different commercial and open source applications, such as: server virtualization, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), desktop virtualization, security applications, etc.
Modes of Operation - Xen supports different types of guest operating system: HVM (hardware virtual machine), HVM with PV drivers, PVHVM (HVM with PVHVM drivers), PVH (PV in an HVM container) and PV (Para virtualization).
Platform Support - Xen hypervisor supports multiple guest operating systems such as Linux, Windows, FreeBSD and multiple Cloud platforms like Cloud Stack, OpenStack, etc with high performance and efficiency.
VM Migration - "live migrate" Xen virtual machines between physical hosts across a LAN without loss of availability. During this procedure, the LAN iteratively copies the memory of the virtual machine to the destination with no data loss.
Scalability - Using Para Virtualization (PV), the hypervisor supports a maximum of 512 VCPUs with 512Gb RAM per guest. Using Hardware Virtualization (HVM), it supports a maximum of 128 VCPUs with 1Tb RAM per guest.
Security - Provides a high level of security due to its modular architecture, which separates the hypervisor from the control and guest operating systems. The hypervisor itself is thin and thus provides a minimal attack surface.
Flexibility - The hypervisor works on older hardware using paravirtualization, on newer hardware using HVM or PV on HVM enabling a degree of scalability, robustness, and security even for large, critical environments.
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