This is our very first blog and I’d like to tell you our story.
First of all a couple of words about ourselves. Veertu was founded by myself – Alex Fishman and Izik Eidus. For the past four years we’ve been working together and among other things we were responsible for creating a hypervisor – a software that creates and runs virtual machines. As you can imagine a hypervisor is a very complex piece of software and only a few selected companies has resources and knowledge to develop such software
So we were very excited when in the middle of 2014 Apple has announced OS X Yosemite which included a new and completely undocumented Hypervisor framework that theoretically allowed to develop a lightweight hypervisor. To better understand our excitement I’d like to explain a little bit on how traditional hypervisors work.
Modern Intel x86 processors implement a special instruction set called Intel VT-x. This instruction set is used for hardware assisted virtualization or running VMs on the chip very fast and efficiently. Unfortunately VT-x instructions are privileged instructions and can only be executed by the host operating system kernel. Regular user space applications don’t have VT-x access, therefore a typical hypervisor contains a privileged piece of software running as a kernel driver.
Running in a kernel has many drawbacks: first of all even a slightest bug can cause system instability and crashes. Secondly, it might introduce security vulnerabilities that could be used by hackers to bypass all built-in security barriers. Those are among the main reasons why such a software is not allowed on the AppStore.
So what is a Hypervisor framework and why it got us excited? It’s an API implemented by Apple as a part of OS X which basically “wraps around” a VT-x instructions set for usage in regular applications. Not only the implementation is secure, portable and stable, it also allowed us to develop a lightweight user space hypervisor compliant with AppStore requirements.
So we jumped on this opportunity and with the assistance of our amazing team we put together a product which we now proudly offer on the AppStore. We decided to focus on user experience and integration with OS X as a main feature and not just an afterthought because we wanted to deliver a perfect product which will be a joy to use. And although some of the features are still missing, we’ll be adding them gradually on a weekly basis so stay tuned!”