ESX Monitor Modes

Version 9

    VMware has supported Intel and AMD's virtualization assist since 2006.  Long before then we were using an all-software approach that we call binary translation (BT).  With the benefit of years of development and optimization, BT outperformed the early versions of hardware assist.  But as hardware assist evolved the use of these new features became more attractive.

     

    Because our support for hardware assist is rich and BT is heavily optimized, the monitor can benefit from using either technology in different situations.  The following tables detail the defaults in ESX 4.0, which can be changed through VM settings if desired.

     

    Monitor Defaults with Intel Processors

    VM Configuration

    Core-i7 (Nehalem)

    45nm Core2 with VT-x

    65nm Core2 with VT-x and FlexPriority

    65nm Core2 with VT-x and No FlexPriority

    P4 with VT-x

    EM64T without VT-x

    No EM64T

    FT enabled

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    Not runnable

    Not runnable

    Not runnable

    64-bit guests

    VT-x + EPT

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    Not runnable

    Not runnable

    VMI enabled

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    OpenServer, UnixWare, OS/2

    VT-x + EPT

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    32-bit Linux and 32-bit FreeBSD

    VT-x + EPT

    VT-x + SPT

    BT + SPT (*)

    BT + SPT (*)

    BT + SPT (*)

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    32-bit Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008

    VT-x + EPT

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    BT + SPT (*)

    BT + SPT (*)

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    Windows 2000, Windows NT, DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, Netware, 32-bit Solaris

    BT + SPT (*)

    BT + SPT (*)

    BT + SPT (*)

    BT + SPT (*)

    BT + SPT (*)

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    All other 32-bit guests

    VT-x + EPT

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    VT-x + SPT

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

     

    (*) When we use BT on an Intel system with VT-x capability, we dynamically switch to VT-x if the guest enters long mode.

     

    Monitor Defaults with AMD Processors

    Configuration

    Barcelona, Phenom, and Newer

    AMD64 pre-Barcelona

    No AMD64

    FT enabled

    AMD-V + SPT

    Not runnable

    Not runnable

    64-bit guests

    AMD-V + RVI

    BT + SPT

    Not runnable

    VMI enabled

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    OpenServer, UnixWare, OS/2

    AMD-V + RVI

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    32-bit Linux and 32-bit FreeBSD

    AMD-V + RVI

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    32-bit Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008

    AMD-V + RVI

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    Windows 2000, Windows NT, DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, Netware, 32-bit Solaris

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

    All other 32-bit guests

    AMD-V + RVI

    BT + SPT

    BT + SPT

     

    Legend

    • VT-x: Intel's virtualization hardware assist.

    • EPT: Extended Page Tables.  Intel's on-board, virtualization-aware memory management unit (MMU).

    • EM64T: Intel's 64-bit extensions to the x86 architecture.

    • SPT: Shadow page tables.  ESX's software memory management unit (i.e., not EPT or RVI.)

    • BT: Binary translation.  ESX's software virtualization capability (i.e., not VT or AMD-V)

    • AMD-V: AMD's virtualization hardware assist.

    • RVI: Rapid Virtualization indexing.  AMD's on-board, virtualization-aware memory management unit (MMU).