guest virtual machine (guest VM)

What is guest virtual machine?

A guest virtual machine (VM) is the software component of a VM, an independent instance of an operating system (OS), called a guest OS, and its associated software and information.

This image shows a virtualized architecture that includes VMs with guest OSes, a hypervisor, a host OS and host hardware.
A guest OS resides within a VM, which is installed on top of a hypervisor and host.

The guest VM and host VM are the two components that make up a VM. The guest VM functions as if it were a physical machine, and the host is the underlying hardware that provides computing resources to support it, such as processing power, memory, disks and network input/output (I/O).

A VM monitor (VMM) or hypervisor intermediates between the host and guest VM. By isolating individual guest VMs from each other, the VMM enables a host to support multiple guests running different OSes.

A guest VM is usually distributed across multiple hosts for load balancing.

This was last updated in November 2022

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