Read a good book lately? I picked up one recently entitled Virtual Machines: Versatile Platforms for Systems and Processes by James E. Smith and Ravi Nair. It covers a wide range of topics ranging from hardware virtualization (like that started by IBM with VM/370) to Java virtual machine (JVM).
If you have any interest in virtualization, system partitioning, or virtual machines, this book is a must have. It is broad and detailed. It would easily be the mainstay for a two semester course. Not surprising coming from a pair of renowned researchers and academics.
Given the level of sophistication, the book is still surprisingly easy to read and will be of interest even to those new to virtualization techniques and usage. The opening introduces virtual machines and then transitions into implementations of binary translation. Case studies pop up throughout the book and they provide insight into the successes and problems that arise with virtualization.
Virtual Machines addresses all the basics like Pascal P-code, multiprocessor virtualization with IBM’s VM/370 and AS/400 architectures, the novel but now defunct Transmeta Crusoe, and even Intel’s new VT-x (Vanderpool) technology that will make full virtualization easier on the next crop of x86 processors. Most are covered in extensive case studies providing insights into each approach. It even covers virtual machine managers (VMM) like those from VMware, Microsoft, and the open source Xen VMM.
Smith and Nair have done an excellent job with Virtual Machines. It will take awhile to digest the contents of this book, but it is well worth time.
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