• <More on Intel.com
Masthead Light

Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Technology

Improving the fundamental flexibility and robustness of traditional software-based virtualization solutions


Hardware-assisted virtualization

Hardware-based Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT)1 improves the fundamental flexibility and robustness of traditional software-based virtualization solutions by accelerating key functions of the virtualized platform. This efficiency offers benefits to the IT, embedded developer, and intelligent systems communities, including:

  • Speeding up the transfer of platform control between the guest operating systems (OSs) and the virtual machine manager (VMM)/hypervisor
  • Enabling the VMM to uniquely assign I/O devices to guest OSs
  • Optimizing the network for virtualization with adapter-based acceleration

Many embedded developers are using virtualization to run multiple operating systems on their devices, enabling them to:

  • Simplify the porting of legacy applications onto new platforms
  • Increase the determination of time-critical functions
  • Improve the security and stability of safety-critical code

Watch the video >

Hardware-assisted virtualization technology laptops

How it works

Intel VT performs various virtualization tasks in hardware, like memory address translation, which reduces the overhead and footprint of virtualization software and improves its performance. In fact, Intel developed three different, yet complementary, virtualization technologies that are built into multiple platform components, including processor, chipset, and network interface controllers (NICs). These technologies include Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT), Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), and Intel® vPro™ technology.

Server virtualization

Get enhanced server virtualization performance in the data center using platforms based on Intel® Xeon® processors with Intel VT, and achieve faster VM boot times with Intel® Virtualization Technology FlexPriority and more flexible live migrations with Intel® Virtualization Technology FlexMigration (Intel® VT FlexMigration).

The Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family enables superior virtualization performance and a flexible, efficient, and secure data center that is fully equipped for the cloud.

The Intel® Xeon® processor 6500 series delivers intelligent and scalable performance optimized for efficient data center virtualization.

The Intel® Xeon® processor E7 family features flexible virtualization that automatically adapts to the diverse needs of a virtualized environment with built-in hardware assists.

Desktop virtualization

Intelligent Desktop Virtualization, using PCs powered by 4th generation Intel® Core™ vPro™ processors with Intel VT, can improve IT security, management, and control, while reducing complexity. Intelligent Desktop Virtualization can also improve application performance and responsiveness and increase the efficiency of data center resources.

In addition, PCs based on 4th generation Intel Core vPro processors include support for hardware-based security and manageability to improve the management and security of remote desktops and laptops.

Hardware-assisted virtualization technology in intelligent systems

Man reading

Industrial systems

Many industrial systems, like programmable logic controllers and motion controllers, require a combination of low-latency, deterministic response and full-featured user interfaces. Virtualization enables systems to simultaneously run real-time and general-purpose operating systems, each on dedicated processor cores of an Intel® multi-core processor. This configuration can increase the speed and determinism of time-critical applications, because they operate unencumbered by non-real-time tasks that would otherwise compete for CPU resources. Furthermore, virtualization enables equipment manufacturers to combine functions running on multiple boards onto one board, which lowers platform cost and reduces system size. To learn more about industrial automation solutions and resources, visit the Intel® Embedded Design Center >


Medical devices

Securing applications and patient data is essential for medical diagnostic equipment. Applications requiring a higher level of security can be isolated using Intel VT, which protects their memory space in hardware and helps prevent attacks from malicious software. As such, software running in a secure partition only has access to its own code and data regions, unable to page outside its memory boundary because the hardware precludes unauthorized access. See medical devices with embedded Intel® Technology >


Product and Performance Information


1. Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) requires a computer system with an enabled Intel® processor, BIOS, virtual machine monitor (VMM) and, for some uses, certain platform software enabled for it. Functionality, performance, or other benefits will vary depending on hardware and software configurations and may require a BIOS update. Software applications may not be compatible with all operating systems. Please check with your application vendor.