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Virtual Machines: Versatile Platforms for Systems and Processes (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Architecture and Design) 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1558609105
ISBN-10: 1558609105
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Examines and unifies the entire field of virtual machine technology.

About the Author

Julia McNamara frequently writes about international business and culture. She holds dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland.

A professional photographer with over 25 years of experience, Jim Smith has published numerous works on Irish people, landscape, and travel.

Pete Hamill is the author of seven novels and two collections of stories, and his writing has appeared in most national magazines. He has been a columnist for many years, and currently writes for New York City's Daily News. His most recent novel is Forever (Little, Brown).

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Product Details

  • Series: The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Architecture and Design
  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (June 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558609105
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558609105
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #796,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Hefele on February 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful quote appears at the start of the book: "Hardware is hard, inflexible, produced by gnomes with sub-micron tools. Virtual machines wrap a layer of software around this hardware, and suddenly computers become flexible, malleable and start doing new tricks: running multiple operating systems, executing several instruction sets, allowing running programs to switch machines, or even rejecting unsafe code."

Many of the "new tricks" of virtualization are thoroughly explored in this book. The authors get "under the hood" of many VMs and go through the details of how they work. Also, they present the many types of virtualization in a well organized, unified framework. The book is also a good history lesson; various forms of virtualization have been around for decades, and the authors go through many case studies to show how many "modern" VM concepts are actually not as modern as you might think.

The first few chapters focus on emulators. They go into great detail about the realities of mapping register sets, memory, interrupts, etc in an emulator, as well as other nits such as how to deal with self-modifying code. Binary-to-binary translation is covered, as well as how the translation can rewrite sections that are hard to virtualize. Dynamic binary optimizers are also covered, as well as how they can profile running code & reorder it to improve locality & speed. The HP Dynamo project is then reviewed to demonstrate the performance gains that are possible using dynamic optimization.

Virtual machines for programming languages are covered next. The typical description of the Java VM is covered here, as well as the Microsoft CLR.
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Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
A good first book on VMs. Starts with general foundations, then overviews both JVM and CLR. More of an overview than an indepth book though (which, for an introduction, is not bad, so I'm not complaining).

One thing I could do w/o though is a fair amount of hype about how VMs are great and so on. First, there's nothing new about them, they've been in existence for decades (it's just at the time MS believed that the future belongs to DDE); second, it can be argued that their current entry into the mainstream is due more to commercial interest and accompanying marketing hype than technical merit; third and last -- I'm tired of pretense excitement about this or that nine-days wonder's being a silver bullet, the Final Great Thing That Solves All Problems. I've seen too many of them appear in blasts of glory and be gone w/o trace within a couple of years despite all MS (or, in our case, Sun) self-serving clairvoyantry. We'll see, says I; meantime, less propaganda would be nice.

But overall, the book's OK though, a good place to start if curious. Btw, there's another one, by Iain Craig, that, I think is even better.

PS. As always, I warn the reader about the below reviewer, W.Boudville. Check his reviews page: he posts like a dozen exclusively positive reviews per day, every day, going back to the beginning of time: he cannot possibly have read one tenth of the books he's reviewed. Probably a "hired hand"; I smell a rat.
6 Comments 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Virtual machines and virtualization are a hot topics in the IT industry today. This is a perfect book and a very good introduction to the topic if you consider programming your own virtual machine. This is also a good introduction for you want to understant the techology behind modern virtual machines. I have a few virtual machine related books in my self and this is the best general introduction to virtual machines. The book deals with practical problems related to implementing your own virtual machine and improving its performance.

If you are just interested in virtualization of your current hardware to support multiple operating systems using virtualization software such as VMWare, Xen or Microsoft Virtual Server, then this defenitely is NOT the book for you! If your main interest is on the Java Virtual Machine, then you should consider purchasing Java VM specific book such as Java Virtual Machine Specification.
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