Virtualization Techniques - Hypervisor vs Jails vs Emulation vs Host-Guest os

7:00:00 PM

Virtualization and Cloud have slowly but surely taken over the Desktop Computing and Server Computing and probably now there are many different technologies and techniques to choose from offered by some of the Big names like VMWare, Solaris, IBM, Citrix, Microsoft, Redhat, Debian, Ubuntu, FreeBSD or any other Linux distro that you can think of. 

How many of us know that IBM had been making and selling the Virtualization on mainframes since 1972! Or how many of us know that Solaris had been the pioneer in container technology for over a decade now that has lately taken over the Virtualization methods in use on Linux.

View the comparison sheet below on different Virtualization Techniques

Virtualization vs Hypervisor vs Emulator vs Linux Jails and Containers comparison and cheet sheet UnhappyGhost - Ethical Hacker - Security Expert - India

Host / Guest OS Technique

First a full blown host OS is installed with all required graphics, sound and other hardware drivers and over that a Virtualization platform is installed. On the Virtualization platform different Guest OS can be installed depending on the requirements and usage. These type of installations are usually see on the Desktop Computers or standalone installations for a small network.

Hypervisor Technique 

This is very widely used virtualization technique for the server environments that demand speed and performance. Instead of full blow OS, a customized minimal OS specifically designed to host, deploy and manage virtualized environment is used as host OS and then different guest OS are virtualized. This has an advantage as very little resources are required for the Host OS itself and that adds to performance boost on Guest OS

Emulation Technique

This is another technique which is not so common but sure is a life savior for those who want to deploy customized hardware environments. Usually in other techniques the hardware profile created for Guest machine doesn't different much than the hardware profile of Host machine, but in emulation technique of virtualization, one could custom create different hardware environment to deploy custom build applications /os for embedded systems. Because the different guest hardware environment demands different performance levels, it is a CPU intensive technique and the Host hardware needs to take lot of load on the processor and memory.

Jails / Linux Containers

Lately the definition of Virtualization has a new meaning from the kind of approach that Jails / Linux Containers have made use of the technique. In other techniques a full blow OS installations are made usually on Guest OS but in the Jails / Containers, a Host OS is installed with the application and then the application instances are virtualized. Good examples are Google docs or Microsoft office 365 on cloud or virtualized applications for specific needs like Web hosting are all effectively using the Jails / containers technique where in one single installation of application can be virtualized into multiple instances as and when demanded by the end user. Not only applications but processes and other resources like block I/O, memory etc can also be made available through Jails. Dockers is a good name to try and test out the jails but there are sure other good products to try.


Hypervisor and Jails are two amazing techniques that have taken the world of Server Computing to the Next level. Emulation techniques will server the purpose for testing embedded or custom hardware environments where as Host/Guest OS technique rocks the Desktop Virtualization. It totally depends on what your requirement is and how you would like things to be deployed keeping security, stability and performance at priority.

#UnhappyGhost #GeekSchool #GeekSch00l #Virtualization #Hypervisor #Emulation #Jails #LinuxContainers #Dockers #VMWare #QEMU #Dynamips


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  1. I clarify that the IBM POWER was not included in the colour charts. It is able to host IBM i, AIX and Linux.

    The virtualization chart is incomplete.

    For more information of the capabilities see

    1. I am a regular visitor to this site and have seen the comparison sheet. Probably the comparison is only based on the techniques and not a product specific advertisement. Probably you may be using only IBM as platform but there are many others who are doing brilliant and so one single product cannot be considered for comparison!

      And thanks for sharing the link about IBM Power, its a good information to share though.


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