Shared Hosting and Dedicated Servers have been the traditional choice of web hosting platforms for a long time. However, with the innovation in server technology and the advent of virtualisation, newer hosting platforms like VPS Hosting were developed. VPS is a type of hosting where multiple websites share the resources of the same server, but each website is a VM (Virtual Machine), meaning that they’re isolated and have dedicated resources. Due to the cost-effectiveness, isolation and privacy, VPS Hosting gained popularity, especially among growing businesses with tight budgets.
In this article, we explore a concept known as hypervisors that, coupled with server virtualisation, ensure the isolation and privacy offered by VPS.
What is a hypervisor?
A hypervisor is a piece of hardware or software (a combination of both, sometimes) that’s used to create VMs or Virtual Machines in a server. The hypervisor sits on the bare metal server and has complete access to all the resources of the server. Hypervisors are typically used when you want to power multiple, independent systems from a single pool of computing resources (a server, in most cases).
How do hypervisors work?
Hypervisors work on the principle of virtualisation. There’s a central pool of resources on which the hypervisor is installed. The hypervisor uses these resources to spawn VMs or Virtual Machines.
A VM is a collection of computing resources that form a complete, independent computer. For example, let’s say that you want a computer with 16GB RAM, 1TB storage, and 6 CPU cores. Normally, you’d have to buy these resources, connect them together, and form a computer.
The hypervisor uses the server instead. Of all the server resources, the hypervisor ‘takes’ the specified amount of resources and ‘creates’ a new, independent system. In this fashion, the hypervisor can create hundreds of VMs from a single server. Each VM behaves exactly like an independent computer. In fact, in most cases, a VM doesn’t even know that it’s part of a server or a network of servers.
Advantages of a hypervisor
- Install and use multiple operating systems on the same hardware
With traditional computing solutions, one hardware is restricted to one operating system, and each operating system has its own functions. With a hypervisor, you can install multiple operating systems on the same piece of hardware. All you have to do is create a new VM, which will serve as an independent and isolated unit. Due to the isolation, every VM can have dedicated resources and separate operating systems.
- Consolidate multiple workloads
A typical office has varied computing needs, and these needs change from time to time. Installing new computers or modifying them not only takes a lot of time and energy, but it also costs money.
Hypervisors can create and delete VMs in a matter of minutes. So, as your computing needs change, so will your workstation. This is especially useful if you test multiple products on multiple platforms and debug them on each platform. You can change the very nature of your workstation just by modifying or changing your VM through the hypervisor.
- Efficient use of resources
Individual machines rarely use all the resources at their disposal. More often than not, a lot of these resources are simply wasted.
With a server and hypervisor setup, you can use all your resources efficiently. Given that VMs can be created and modified easily, you’ll never have to allocate more resources to any VM that isn’t going to be put to use.
Individual machines don’t just consist of storage, CPU, and RAM. From the box in which they reside to the little wires that connect all the parts, there’s a lot of hardware in an individual system.
Servers don’t have to have multiple motherboards or multiple power supply management units. There’s just one computing foundation. It’s only the RAM, CPU, and storage that’ll need scaling.
The result is that servers with hypervisors can create multiple machines that have the same efficiency as individual systems but without spending extra on redundant hardware. There’s one set of hardware, and it powers everything.
Hypervisors make it very easy to add or remove resources from a VM. Scaling up the resources of a normal computer or a server usually involves purchasing, shipping, installing, and configuring some hardware.
With a hypervisor, it usually takes a few minutes. The hypervisor is the nerve centre of the entire environment and has the capacity to add, remove, and transfer resources in real-time. So, if you want more storage for a particular VM, you can do it instantly.
- Monitor your server better
The hypervisor, as mentioned before, is at the heart of a server. It creates VMs, allocates resources, and monitors all VMs constantly. This means that, with the right credentials, you can keep excellent tabs on the server.
You can check how many VMs are created, how many are currently running, what resources they’re using, which VMs are stressed, and so on. This type of comprehensive monitoring will help you to understand your computational needs better.
This is perhaps the most important advantage that a hypervisor offers. When you use a hypervisor, each VM is completely isolated, meaning that they’ll behave like a complete, independent server with dedicated resources. This feature is crucial because it enables you to allow different people to work off the same server. Data is always compartmentalised and always protected.
Another advantage of isolation is that mistakes made in one VM will not affect other VMs. Any action taken in a VM is completely limited to that VM alone. Obviously, this ensures that you never lose too much information or cause permanent, irreversible damage to the server or to other users.