What is Full Virtualization and how does it work in VMware?
VMware can virtualize any x86 operating system using a combination of binary translation and direct execution techniques.
This approach, shown in above figure, translates kernel code to replace non-virtualizable
instructions with new sequences of instructions that have the intended effect on the virtual hardware. Meanwhile, user level code is directly executed on the processor for high performance virtualization. Each virtual machine monitor provides each Virtual Machine with all the services of the physical system, including a virtual BIOS, virtual devices and virtualized memory management.
This combination of binary translation and direct execution provides Full Virtualization as the guest OS is fully abstracted (completely decoupled) from the underlying hardware by the virtualization layer. The guest OS is not aware it is being virtualized and requires no modification. Full virtualization is the only option that requires no hardware assist or operating system assist to virtualize sensitive and privileged instructions. The hypervisor translates all operating system instructions on the fly and caches the results for future use, while user level instructions run unmodified at native speed.