Difference between Type-1 and Type-2 Hypervisor

By | January 10, 2020

Hypervisors are used to host virtual machines but the most common question people generally ask about the types of hypervisor. There are many companies who deal with Hypervisors but mainly there are three players:

  • VMware
  • Microsoft
  • Citrix

All of them have both Type-1 and Type-2 hypervisor. Now question is what are they? What is the difference? Which one to choose? Let’s understand…

Type-1 Hypervisor

This kind of hypervisors can directly installed on bare metal hardware just like an Operating Systems. Due to this, the speed and performance of these hypervisors are very fast. That’s the reason you will only find Type-1 hypervisors in any organization, where the performance is the key. Since they are directly implemented on the bare-metal, they can utilize the full resource of the hardware and gives wonderful performance. Since mostly enterprises use Type-1 hypervisors, most of them (not all) are paid. Major Type-1 hypervisors are:

  • ESXi (VMware)
  • Hyper-V (Microsoft)
  • XenServer (Citrix)

Below image shows how Type-1 hypervisor works: Hardware -> Type-1 Hypervisor -> Virtual Machines

Type-2 Hypervisor

This kind of hypervisors can’t be directly deployed on the bare-metal hardware. Means there should be an Operating System already installed on the hardware and then on top of that OS, you can install Type-2 Hypervisor. Since there will be an extra layer of Operating System which is already consuming the hardware resource, the performance of Type-2 Hypervisors are not as good as Type-1 Hypervisors. That’s the reason Enterprise level Organization don’t use Type-2 hypervisors as they can’t give better performance in production environment. Mostly Type-2 hypervisors are free or Open Source. Major Type-2 Hypervisors are:

  • VMware Workstation/Player/Fusion
  • Microsoft Virtual PC
  • Oracle VirtualBox

Below image shows how Type-2 hypervisor works: Hardware -> Operating System -> Type-2 Hypervisor -> Virtual Machines

Which Hypervisor should I use?

If you are planning to deploy Hypervisor in Enterprise/Organization level where hundreds os VMs will be hosted, without any doubt you should choose Type-1 Hypervisors.

If you are a home user or want to setup a virtual environment for Lab or testing purpose, definitely you should go for Type-2 Hypervisors as they are not that complex and free. At the end, see the side by side comparison of both Hypervisors. Good luck!

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