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Pretending to be a computer

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Hardware virtualisation – the virtualisation of computers as complete hardware platforms – is currently used worldwide, by CDNs and Cloud provides to scale their servers dynamically with user demand, by programmers to test their programs on multiple Operating Systems easily and by developers of Operating Systems as themselves. Such is its importance, that hardware support for virtualisation has been introduced by all major processor manufacturers in the last decade – increasing its performance to near-native levels.

In this talk, we shall illustrate some advantages and pitfalls of virtualisation by examining the architecture and features of Xen, a popular Open Source virtualisation platform. We shall discuss some specific design decisions and use cases for Xen, and provide live demonstration of its use and capabilities. Finally, we shall examine how service providers and developers can use Xen and virtualisation in general to conserve limited hardware resources and reduce complexity.

This talk is part of the Churchill CompSci Talks series.

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