[WEBINAR] Application Acceleration: Faster Performance for End Users

Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL)

Definition - What does Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) mean?

A hardware abstraction layer (HAL) is a logical division of code that serves as an abstraction layer between a computer's physical hardware and its software. It provides a device driver interface allowing a program to communicate with the hardware.

The main purpose of a HAL is to conceal different hardware architectures from the OS by providing a uniform interface to the system peripherals.

Techopedia explains Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL)

A hardware abstraction layer is included in many OSs to avoid modifying the OS kernel to run the program on computers with varying hardware architecture. A PC may include the HAL in the OS kernel or in the form of device drivers that provide a consistent interface for applications to interact with the hardware peripherals.

The HAL provides the following benefits:

  • Allowing applications to extract as much performance out of the hardware devices as possible
  • Enabling the OS to perform regardless of the hardware architecture
  • Enabling device drivers to provide direct access to each hardware device, which allows programs to be device-independent
  • Allowing software programs to communicate with the hardware devices at a general level
  • Facilitating portability

Some of the OSs that feature HALs include the Mac OS, Linux, DOS, Solaris, BSD, Windows NT, Windows 2000 and IBM’s AS/400.

Techopedia Deals

Connect with us

Techopedia on Linkedin
Techopedia on Linkedin
"Techopedia" on Twitter

Sign up for Techopedia's Free Newsletter!

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter

Free Whitepaper: The Path to Hybrid Cloud
Free Whitepaper: The Path to Hybrid Cloud:
The Path to Hybrid Cloud: Intelligent Bursting To Amazon Web Services & Microsoft Azure
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide:
This white paper is for leaders of Operations, Engineering, or Infrastructure teams who are creating or executing an IT roadmap.
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor:
Virtual Health Monitor is a free virtualization monitoring and reporting tool for VMware, Hyper-V, RHEV, and XenServer environments.
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic:
Turbonomic delivers an autonomic platform where virtual and cloud environments self-manage in real-time to assure application performance.