Appendix A Real Machines

Many virtual machines present an interface essentially identical to that of some desired real machine. Furthermore, all virtual machines are implemented on top of some real machine; virtual resources are ultimately realized with real resources. In order to fully understand virtual machines, therefore, it is important to understand the major components of a typical computer system, including their interfaces and the corresponding resources that are managed through the interfaces. This appendix outlines the major computer system components, with emphasis on the ones most relevant to virtual machine implementations.

The discussion will begin with an overview of the three primary computer system hardware components: processors, ...

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