One of the most recent updates that we have made to our system is the addition of support for booting instances from UEFI, based on a customer request. Now, the difference between UEFI and the original BIOS isn't always common knowledge, so we're getting into the basics and giving you a very good reason as to why this update may affect you.
What is UEFI?
To get familiar with UEFI, which stands for User Extensible Firmware Interface, it helps to first know it's predecessor: BIOS. Both of these interfaces work as the in-between to connecting a computer's firmware to its respective operating system. However, BIOS, because it has been around from the very beginning, stills functions in 16-bit mode, meaning that the extent of code that is able to be read and executed from the firmware ROM is quite constricted.
UEFI, on the other hand, serves the same purpose as BIOS but delivers through fresh features and possesses advantages that are outside of the scope of traditional BIOS, making it the natural replacement in the future.
The Benefits of UEFI
There are numerous advantages that differentiate UEFI from BIOS. One of the most significant being that UEFI can boot up the operating system directly as opposed to the self-test process employed by the BIOS, enabling faster booting. This is possible through the UEFI housing all the startup and initialization information within a .efi file. This particular file is kept in an EFI System Partition, abbreviated as ESP, that also contains the boot loader programs required by the operating system that is installed on the computer.
Another benefit to UEFI is that, whereas with the legacy BIOS users were unable to use large drives, they are now able to handle drives larger than 2 TB. Additionally, UEFI features a more user-friendly graphical interface and as well as much more satisfying and fuller setup menus than BIOS.
Furthermore, UEFI is capable of simplifying remote troubleshooting and configuration through its proficient support of network functioning within the firmware itself. There is also the support provided by UEFI for a secure startup, where the operating system's validity can be reviewed and verified as a means of protecting against malware affecting the startup process.
Why You Should Get Excited
Now, the above benefits alone are reason enough to get excited about UEFI, however, VEXXHOST hasn't only made it available to our own users. Since we make use of OpenStack technology and OpenStack supports both BIOS and UEFI, our team of engineers actually fixed this in upstream, thereby making it available to any and all OpenStack-Ansible users!
Open source technology doesn't have to be scary, start taking advantage of everything OpenStack has to offer today and leverage the VEXXHOST team's expertise through our consulting offering.