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CentOS 7 – Full virtualization

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Full virtualization is a virtualization technology that completely simulates virtual hardware underneath the virtual machines, with no interaction with the physical hardware. It requires that the entire hardware underneath the virtual machine to become unnoticeable. This technology can simulate any kind of physical hardware on demand to answer the need of the system running on the virtual machine, which answers any service or application demand for specific baremetal hardware. In other words, full virtualization is a virtualization capacity to fully run the guest machine without letting it become aware that it is running on a virtual environment. The virtual machine, in this case, has a fully virtualized hardware to run its services on. They don’t have any interaction with the physical hardware.

The following diagram shows how, during full virtualization, the underlying platform runs the guest OS without being modified or being aware that it is running on a virtualization:

There is a specific type of full virtualization called hardware-assisted virtualization. In this, the CPU architecture helps with the execution of hardware virtualization through some special instructions that might allow the guest machine to execute privileged instructions directly on the CPU, even though it is a virtualization.

Using the CentOS 7 server, we can conduct full virtualization or hardware-assisted full virtualization by using either Xen or KVM. We will see how to do so in the Setting up Xen for CentOS 7 section.

On a larger scale, solutions that can implement full virtualization include VMware’s family of hypervisors, Xen and XenServer, VirtualBox, QEMU, and KVM.

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