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Hypervisor vs Hyperscaler: Differences and Features‍

Hypervisor vs Hyperscaler: Differences and Features‍

Two words you’ll often hear when talking about cloud services are hypervisor and hyperscaler - two crucial components of cloud hosting that often cause confusion.

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Hypervisor vs Hyperscaler: Differences and Features

Cloud hosting has changed the way businesses and individuals manage their digital infrastructure. Two crucial components of cloud hosting that often cause confusion are hypervisors and hyperscalers.

While they both play essential roles in cloud computing, they serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics. In this blog post, we'll look at differences between a hypervisor and a hyperscaler to help you better understand their roles in the world of cloud hosting, as well as their features.

What is a Hypervisor?

A hypervisor, also known as a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM), is a fundamental component of cloud hosting and virtualization. Hypervisors can be a software or hardware component that creates and manages virtual machines (VMs) on a physical server or host system.

It also enables multiple operating systems and their associated applications to run concurrently on a single physical server, often referred to as the host machine or host server.

What is the Difference Between Software and Hardware Hypervisors?

The main difference between a software hypervisor and a hardware hypervisor is the way that they are implemented into the system.

Software Hypervisors (Hosted)

Software Hypervisors, also known as a ‘hosted hypervisor’, run as an application/software program on top of a host Operating System (OS). It does not interact directly with the physical hardware, but it relies on the host OS to manage hardware resources.

Some reasons why software hypervisors are implemented are for development, testing, and virtualization on personal computers or workstations. They are commonly used when running a virtual machine alongside other applications.

However, some may prefer to use hardware hypervisors, because software hypervisors run on top of a host operating system, they may introduce some resource overhead, which can affect the overall performance of virtual machines. Which is why hardware hypervisors are oftentimes the better choice.

Hardware Hypervisors (Bare metal)

A hardware hypervisor, sometimes referred to as a ‘bare metal hypervisor’, runs directly on the physical hardware without the need for a host operating system. Which allows it to have direct control over hardware resources.

Hardware hypervisors are designed for enterprise systems and data centre environments where efficiency, performance, and isolation are critical. They are ideal for running multiple virtual machines on a single physical server.

This version of hypervisor is considered more resource-efficient because it eliminates the need for a host operating system, which helps in reducing resource overhead and results in improved performance and scalability.

What is Resource Overhead?

Resource overhead refers to the additional computational resources, such as CPU processing power, memory (RAM), and storage, that are consumed by a software application or process beyond what is strictly required to perform its primary function. Resource overhead is the extra burden imposed on the system's resources due to the software that may be on it, such as software hypervisors.

Key Features of a Hypervisor:

Resource Virtualization

The hypervisor abstracts and virtualizes the physical hardware resources of the host machine, such as CPU processing power, memory (RAM), storage, and network connectivity. It allocates and manages these virtualized resources among the virtual machines.


Each VM created by the hypervisor operates independently and is isolated from other VMs running on the same host. This isolation ensures that activities or issues in one VM do not affect the others, providing security and stability.

Multiple Operating Systems

A hypervisor allows different operating systems (OS) to coexist on the same physical server. This means you can run VMs with Windows, Linux, macOS, or other operating systems on the same hardware.


Users or administrators have control over the configuration of each VM, including CPU cores, memory allocation, disk space, and network settings. This flexibility allows VMs to be tailored to specific application requirements.

Snapshot and Cloning

Hypervisors often provide features like VM snapshots (capturing the VM's current state) and cloning (creating copies of VMs). These features simplify backup, recovery, and the rapid deployment of new VM instances.

Live Migration

Some advanced hypervisors support live migration, which allows VMs to be moved from one physical server to another without downtime. This is useful for load balancing, maintenance, and disaster recovery.

What is a Hyperscaler?

A hyperscaler is a cloud service provider that operates at an exceptionally large scale, such as AWS, Azure, and IBM Cloud, who offer cloud computing services and resources to a vast number of customers globally.

Hyperscalers maintain extensive data centre infrastructure and provide a wide range of cloud services to businesses, organisations, and individuals. Hyperscalers typically have enterprise-grade infrastructure and systems to ensure that they are efficient and have the ability to handle the high demands of cloud computing on a global scale.

Key Features of Hyperscalers

Global Reach

Hyperscalers have a worldwide presence, with data centres strategically located in various regions and countries. This global network of data centres ensures low-latency access to resources and redundancy for high availability.

High Availability and Scalability

Hyperscalers offer near limitless scalability, allowing users to quickly and easily scale their resources up or down based on demand. This flexibility is crucial for businesses with rapidly changing resource requirements, especially if you’re a large business or get a lot of network traffic that’s unpredictable.

Cost Efficiency and Pay-as-you-go Models

Due to their massive scale and efficient infrastructure, hyperscalers can offer competitive pricing and cost-effective solutions to customers of all sizes. They often employ pay-as-you-go pricing models, allowing users to pay only for the resources they consume.

Advanced Security and Compliance

Hyperscalers invest heavily in security measures and compliance certifications to protect customer data. They offer a range of security services and tools to help customers secure their cloud environments.

Economies of Scale

By operating at an enormous scale, hyperscalers can achieve economies of scale, driving down the cost of hardware, energy, and maintenance. This efficiency benefits both the cloud provider and its customers.

So, What is the Difference Between a Hypervisor and Hyperscaler?

In conclusion, the key difference between a hypervisor and a hyperscaler is; hypervisors is a sytem that creates and manages virtual machines (VMs) on a single physical server, enabling multiple operating systems to run independently.  

Whereas, a hyperscaler is a cloud service provider that operates on a massive scale, offering cloud services and resources globally, with data centres strategically located worldwide.  

In summary, hypervisors manage VMs on a smaller scale within individual servers, while hyperscalers provide vast cloud infrastructure and services on a global level.

Zeus Cloud is a combination of a hypervisor and a hyperscaler. At Zeus Cloud, we offer hypervisors through our Hybrid Cloud services, as well as large scale enterprise-grade cloud services on a global scale with locations available in the UK, Europe, Asia, and the US.

Check out our cloud services below:

Hybrid Cloud

Public Cloud

Private Cloud

Caitlin-Leoni Watkins
Partner Manager

Zeus Cloud's Partner Manager.

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