Virtualize I/O


Learn about how computer input/output is virtualized. Covers I/O basics and a case study of virtualizing I/O.

Learning objectives

In this module, you will:

  • Recognize how CPU and I/O devices communicate in traditional systems
  • Identify how many I/O device drivers can/should be supported per physical device for different virtualized systems, such as native and dual-mode hosted virtualized systems
  • Recognize the need for and ease of intercepting I/O requests by the hypervisor
  • Identify at which system interfaces the hypervisor can intercept I/O requests
  • Explain the pros and cons of intercepting I/O requests at different system interfaces
  • Describe the overall I/O virtualization process as applied to a network interface card
  • Discuss Xen Project's approach to I/O virtualization

In partnership with Dr. Majd Sakr and Carnegie Mellon University.


  • Understand what cloud computing is, including cloud service models and common cloud providers
  • Know the technologies that enable cloud computing
  • Understand how cloud service providers pay for and bill for the cloud
  • Know what datacenters are and why they exist
  • Know how datacenters are set up, powered, and provisioned
  • Understand how cloud resources are provisioned and metered
  • Be familiar with the concept of virtualization
  • Know what the different types of virtualization are
  • Understand CPU virtualization
  • Understand memory virtualization