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unixshell# is powered by the Xen hypervisor engine. Xen is developed to operate and perform like mainframe servers on commodity Intel and AMD servers. Xen is currently in use at companies such as IBM, HP, RedHat, Novell, and Los Alamos National Laboratory as a replacement for aging mainframe systems. Performance of Xen is very good with very little overhead for the virtualization layer, with the worst case being 8% and average overhead being 2%. Xen currently supports running Linux, Plan 9, NetBSD, and FreeBSD servers. Currently unixshell# only offers Linux, but as our system becomes more tested we will make other platforms available with NetBSD and FreeBSD being the next available

Xen website with benchmarks comparing stock Linux versus Xen, User Mode Linux, and VMWare: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/SRG/netos/xen/performance.html

Research paper on Xen: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/netos/papers/2003-xensosp.pdf [PDF]

Performance comparison against IBM zSeries mainframe: http://www.clarkson.edu/class/cs644/xen/files/repeatedxen-usenix04.pdf [PDF]