List of Best Open Source Hypervisors

A hypervisor is a software layer that allows you to run several virtual machines within a single server. The prime advantage of using open-source hypervisors is that you can run various operating systems in each virtual machine. Hence, the central server is the host machine, while all the virtual machines are the guest machine. Hence, there is a massive cut in various expenses as there is no need to install the software separately. In the present era, most colleges, universities, and even schools are adopting open-source software to increase work efficiency.

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Benefits of Open Source Hypervisor

People are primarily adopting open-source software because it is highly flexible. Apart from being cost-effective, it also has a vast number of advantages. The following are the benefits of open-source virtualization.

1. Slash Your It Expenses:

It is not a great idea to use a non-virtualized environment. If the computer is sitting idle, you cannot use it for any other application; hence, it becomes inefficient and useless. However, if you virtualize an environment, one single server can transform into various virtual machines, and you can use virtual machines for various applications.

Moreover, it is also possible to have other operating systems working simultaneously in the different virtual machines. It is a better option as the virtualized environment is more cost-effective, slashes unnecessary IT expenses, and saves the organization a lot.

2. Reduce Time When a Disaster Occurs:

If your physical server crashes, you need someone to either replace it or make any repairs so that it comes back to its usual self. However, the entire process of restoring the server can take some time which could hinder the work. However, if you have an open-source virtualized environment, you will not get any issues with the server or any of the machines. It is because provisions allow you to replicate or clone the virtual machine. It takes only some minutes for the entire process to function generally as opposed to hours and even days to set up a new physical server. Hence, it plays a vital role in increasing the smooth running of the business.

3. High Efficiency and Productivity:

If you are using an open-source hypervisor, it is a welcome relief for IT professionals. It is because they can take complete control of the maintenance as there are fewer machines. Hence, whenever there is a requirement for any updating software or installation, it is done in no time. The IT professionals can keep the IT infrastructure of a business in top condition. It is because the work is less laborious than the physical servers, where maintaining the various computers in the network is tedious. Therefore, it increases the efficiency and productivity of the business.

4. Control Independence and DevOps:

There is better control of the virtualized environment as the developers can segment into virtual machines, and your developers can spin up any virtual machine without causing an impact on the other machines. Hence, if you want to test new software, you can install it on any virtual machine and run a test. Hence, it increases the speed of work in the business environment.

5. Becoming More Organizational and Environmental Friendly:

One of the most significant advantages of using an open-source hypervisor is that since it cuts down the number of physical servers, there is less power consumption. Hence, we can get two benefits.

  • Since it reduces expenses for the business, you can use the money for other investments.
  • It reduces the carbon footprint of the data cent

Best Open Source Hypervisor

Following is a list of hypervisors that are popular among users.

1. Xen:

Xen is among the most popular open-source hypervisors in the present era, and it also comes with a commercial version of Citrix and Oracle VM. Moreover, since XEN gets cloud support, it is widely prevalent among all business enterprises.

2. Linux KVM:

If you are looking for hypervisors for Linux, kernel-based Linux is among the best. It has a kernel module KVM.ko which is a loadable kernel, and it can quickly turn the Linux kernel into a hypervisor. The Linux KVM belongs to the type 2 hypervisors because of the involvement of the kernel.

3. Microsoft Hyper V:

Microsoft Hyper V is a free hypervisor you can download easily from the net and use. It is an open-source application. The primary aim of the Microsoft Hyper V was to compete with the other open-source hypervisors. It is one of the best free hypervisors as it is a standalone software and includes all the features of Windows Server 2012.

4. VMware Free ESXi:

VMware ESXi is free software that you can download easily from the net. The benefit of using open-source software is that you can customize it according to your requirement. Hence, it is pretty popular among users.

5. Guest:

Guest is a lightweight hypervisor that is built into the Linux kernel. The software is apt to develop and test the kernel boot. Moreover, the functioning of the software is also interesting and exciting. During initialization, the Guest allocates memory and maps it to the kernel’s address space, and it loads a small hypervisor in this allocated memory.

6. Oracle VirtualBox:

The Oracle VirtualBox is a type 2 hypervisor that you can run on any operating system, such as Solaris, Linux, Mac, and Windows. It is also compatible with both x86 and x64 operating systems. One of the benefits of using the Oracle VirtualBox is that it is pretty portable. It also allows virtual machines to be imported or exported using the Open Virtualization Format (OVF). It is one of the prominent features of this product.

7. Xvisor:

The Xvisor provides virtualization to various types of architectures. You can quickly transfer its code to most 32 and 64-bit architectures until they have PMMU.

8. VMware Workstation Player:

The VMware Workstation Player is a type 2 open-source hypervisor. It is one of the ideal software that can find a place in any enterprise, and it is because the software is simple and easy to use. The VMware Workstation Player is ideal for running and evaluating operating systems and applications on a virtual machine with either Linux or Windows.

9. OpenVZ:

OpenVZ is open-source container-based virtualization specially created for Linux. It also can create as many virtual machines as possible in a Linux container. Hence, it becomes easy for the admin to use each container as an individual server, and you can reboot without any hassles on the same physical server.

10. SmartOS:

The SmartOS is based on Linux’s Kernel-based Virtual Machine Virtualization technology. You can easily download the VM hypervisor free from the net. One of the significant advantages of using the SmartOs is that anyone can use them according to their convenience.

Hence, it is up to the choice of the system administrators to pick and choose the best hypervisor based on various factors.

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Categories of Hypervisors

It is because of the hypervisors virtualization is possible. It separates the physical part of a machine from the virtual part. However, based on the categories, there are two types of hypervisors:

Type 1 Hypervisor:

Type 1 hypervisor is software installed directly on top of a physical server and its hardware. Since there is no software or operating system, it is also known as a bare metal hypervisor. The type 1 hypervisor does not run inside any windows or operating system; hence, it provides excellent stability and performance. Type 1 hypervisors are operating systems you can run on virtual machines. Type 1 hypervisors are mainly found in most business enterprises as it is easy to use. One of the best features of a type 1 hypervisor is that it allows for the over-allocation of physical resources. With the help of type 1 hypervisors, you can assign more resources to your virtual machines than is available.

Type 2 Hypervisor:

The type 2 hypervisor is in contrast with the type 1 hypervisor. It runs inside of an operating system of the physical machine. Hence it is also called hosted hypervisor. The type 2 hypervisor has only one software layer, and it has the following:

  • A physical machine.
  • An operating system that can be either Linux, Windows, or Mac
  • A type 2 hypervisor within the operating system.
  • The list of the guest virtual machine.

One of the advantages of using the Type 2 hypervisor is that it acts as a management console for all virtual machines. There is no need to install separate software on individual virtual machines. Hence it proves to be cost-effective and a great time-saver. You can also easily set up a hypervisor on your current system. The type 2 hypervisors are extremely helpful for testing new software and research purposes.


It is entirely on the discreet of IT professionals to choose the best open-source hypervisors. However, while choosing, they need to consider certain factors. It is because, ultimately, they must ensure that the work is being done smoothly and efficiently. For these reasons, open-source hypervisors are widely used in schools and colleges. Therefore, according to your needs and requirements, you must choose either a type 1 hypervisor or a type 2 hypervisor.