Windows Azure's hypervisor isn't Hyper-V

Advancements from the Azure hypervisor are making their way into Hyper-V -- although by all accounts Hyper-V is the hypervisor platform that should have more maturity

It isn't always a bad thing when your IT worker has his or her head in the clouds these days. Like virtualization, the infamous "cloud" is quickly becoming a hot topic and highly used buzzword in the industry.

Last week, Microsoft tossed its Redmond cap into the cloud ring with the announcement of Windows Azure during Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles.

Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud computing environment, is the foundation of the Azure Services Platform for developing applications extending from the cloud to PCs, datacenters, phones, and the Web.

During the PDC keynote, Microsoft Chief Architect Ray Ozzie mentioned that the company's cloud computing technology was built on top of a hypervisor. However, InfoWorld's Paul Krill and Eric Knorr spoke with a key developer of the Windows Azure platform, Microsoft corporate vice president Amitabh Srivistava, and oddly enough, they found out that the hypervisor found in Azure is not Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technology.

The three were discussing the cloud's dynamic provisioning aspect when Srivistava told InfoWorld:

"No, we have our own hypervisor, which we have designed specifically for the design point. We just call it Windows Azure hypervisor, but a lot of the advancements we are making are moving into Hyper-V, [so] the same thing will be available to the on-premises customer. The virtualization support that you get in hardware like NPT and EPT, the nested page tables that are there. We are taking a lot of advantage of that, so that's what [Microsoft engineer] Dave Cutler has done in really optimizing the thing out, so the overhead of the hypervisor is extremely low. And when the hypervisor overhead is low, then we can get maximum utilization by dividing the machine."

It is interesting to hear that the advancements from the Azure hypervisor are making their way into Hyper-V -- since Hyper-V is the hypervisor platform that by all accounts should have more maturity between the two.


Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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