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Full virtualization is a common and cost-effective type of virtualization, which is basically a method by which computer service requests are separated from the physical hardware that facilitates them. With full virtualization, operating systems and their hosted software are run on top of virtual hardware. It differs from other forms of virtualization (like paravirtualization and hardware-assisted virtualization) in its total isolation of guest operating systems from their hosts.
A private company called VMware developed a method to virtualize the x86 platform in 1998, which was previously believed to be impossible. The technology allowed multiple guest operating systems to run on a single host OS in full isolation using a combination of direct execution and binary translation. This was the first implementation of full virtualization, but certain inefficiencies have led to the development of other virtualization methods. These other methods include paravirtualization (which facilitates communication between the guest OS and the hypervisor in order to improve performance) and hardware-assisted virtualization (which gives virtual systems direct access to the hosting hardware, rather than merely its overlying software).