The PC component known as BIOS is present in every box since first IBM PC compatible appearance. But in these years its features failed to keep the pace with technology evolution, so that Intel started to work on a modern replacement called Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI, formerly EFI).
This obliges Phoenix Technologies, which is one of the two worldwide leaders in BIOS manufacturing, to reshape its business model and find new revenue streams. And virtualization is one of the best opportunity at the moment.
virtualization.info has learned that Phoenix is developing its own hypervisor, called HyperCore, designed to host traditional operating systems like Windows Vista, side by side with a special multi-purpose environment called HyperSpace, produced by Phoenix itself.
HyperCore is a true bare-metal Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) which will load directly from Phoenix BIOS, while HyperSpace will be able to provide basic capabilities for daily tasks, like internet browsing and multimedia files view, in isolated virtual machines. The HyperSpace will also provide some security tools, like an anti-virus, to recover other compromised virtual machines.
HyperCore will also be able to run embedded OSes inside its virtual machines, developed by third party ISVs for different purposes.
virtualization.info has also learned that Phoenix Technologies has hired Joanna Rutkwoska, the security researcher behind the Blue Pill rootkit prototype which divided security and virtualization experts, to grant HyperCore’s security level before release.
At the moment no further informations are available. Stay tuned for new details.
The move is of notable importance: while VMware and Citrix fight to embed their hypervisors into popular servers for enterprise customers, Phoenix may be free to do the same thing in the consumer market, but without a single competitor because of its privileged position in the computing stack.
Phoenix may look for acquisition in the virtualization space to achieve the goal as soon as possible.