VM question

DELTAsnake

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 18, 2008
382
1
Australia
I remember a couple of years ago tech news sites reporting at least one of the VM companies was saying how they were working on a new form of VM which would run close to the bare metal of the PC and then Windows, OS X etc would run on top of that giving the OS's 99% of the system power but being able to switch between different OS's quickly. Did anything ever come of that? If it did does it run on Mac hardware?
 

Guiyon

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2008
769
2
Cambridge, MA
It sounds like you're thinking of 'native' or 'bare metal' hypervisors. These are operation systems (and associated software packages) designed specifically for the purpose of hosting VMs. The common packages are Xen and one of the standard server distributions is XenServer. VMWare has a competing package called vSphere (previously known as ESXi). IIRC, ESXi is officially supported running on a Mac Pro (it may only be the late 2013 model), and I'm not sure what Xen/XenServer officially supports but I'm guessing it will run on nearly anything that supports virtualization. A lot of the newer features also require an updated processor which has the necessary instructions for things like paravirtualization or I/O virtualization (allowing guest operating systems to directly access the underlying hardware).

Management of these systems is a different problem. Both packages support remote management but the official packages (XenCenter for XenServer and vSphere Client for vSphere) only supports Windows so you'll either need to install Windows somewhere to manage things or do what you can via the command line. Xen has a few advantages here since it is open source so there may be an alternative management console out there, I haven't looked though.
 
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