When released, Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization software will feature an advanced "synthetic device" approach that promises improved I/O for the running virtual machine.
Why is this synthetic device so important? With traditional emulation, the hypervisor will call emulation programs mimicking the various virtual hardware. These emulation programs will then execute the instruction before handing back the results. This happens repeatedly, resulting in performance overhead.
With Hyper-V, a synthetic device that knows how to make use of the native Windows drivers is substituted for the passing of messages between partitions, generating a quicker path to the I/O channel. Under Hyper-V, a virtual machine's access to the hard drive, mouse, video card, network adapter card, or other I/O devices will be managed by a synthetic device that has "driver enlightenment," or knowledge of Windows drivers, not an emulation program, he said. [Mike Schutz , director of product management]
"Device enlightenment" is what Xen nis doing for its hypervisor. In fact, it was Citrix — the owner of XenSource, that helped Microsoft engineer this capability into Hyper-V for Linux.
Some knowledgeable industry watchers are predicting that Microsoft will try to add Hyper-V to Windows Server 2008 by June or July. In the meantime, are you waiting for Microsoft's Hyper-V?
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.