Decoupling the OS from the hardware
One of the main reasons for the complexity and problems in migration is the fact that the OS is coupled with the hardware. The hardware affects the OS architecture, HAL and device drivers. Thus, if the OS is just moved (i.e., copied bit-by-bit) to a new hardware, it becomes unusable – it won’t even boot.
Zinstall decouples the OS from the hardware, changing the required files and configurations on-the-fly, during the migration process. This approach “frees” the OS from the hardware, and allows free movement of the user habitat across different hardware platforms.
When a migration process is performed, Zinstall first determines the new “target” hardware. The required hardware is then compared to the existing hardware of the migrated machine. According to this comparison, the hardware abstraction layer and the drivers are changed to the required state.
Once the OS with all its contents is decoupled from the hardware, it can be moved to a variety of environments. Let's see how.
Migrating to new hardware
When a PC hardware upgrade is performed using Zinstall, this decoupled OS is moved to a different hardware - to the bare metal. This means that Zinstall has to install new hardware drivers, or even alter some of the system components to work correctly on the new hardware.
It is important to understand that, since operating systems are tightly coupled with the underlying hardware, just “copying” the system to its destination, or plugging the old hard drive into the new PC is not sufficient. The OS will not boot on the new hardware - resulting in a "Blue Screen of Death".
To solve this problem, Zinstall effectively performs a "reverse
decoupling" process on the OS container, and the result is as tightly
installed on the hardware as if it was installed their from the
beginning. Of course, for more obscure devices, you may have to install
specific drivers yourself - but except that, you won't notice anything
Migrating to new OS
In this case, the decoupled OS container is installed in a special environment inside the new host OS. This case is lighter on the hardware specifics, since many interfaces will be supplied by the installed OS.
The main emphasis here goes on the integration with the host OS and on the ease-of-use of the resulting system. See Zinstall TV-Channels for more information.