QEMU: For Faster Virtualisation And Better Emulation

By Ashwin Gopinath

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km-qemu executable is pretty qemu-like in its work, that is, it allocates RAM and spawns a new thread. This thread instructs KVM kernel module to switch the system to guest mode before proceeding to execute virtual machine code. KVM does not emulate peripherals of any sort, as it is more of a hypervisor than a virtualiser. Hence, while QEMU can run on a processor without needing hardware virtualisation, KVM needs it.

System Architecture involving QEMU
Fig. 2: System Architecture involving QEMU

You still use QEMU, even if you do not

Some of the more famous virtualisation solutions themselves use a layer of QEMU behind all their work. VirtualBox has a built-in recompiler based on QEMU. Xen-HVM, another virtual machine monitor, has device emulation based on QEMU project in order to provide I/O virtualisation to virtual machines.

Another example is KVM, which is a free BSD and Linux kernel module that allows a user space program access to hardware virtualisation. So if you are looking for the best open source solution for all things emulation and virtualisation based, look no further.

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Ashwin Gopinath, an engineer, who enjoys following innovators, Arduinos and migratory birds

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