Creating the backdrop for KVM to emerge in this leading role on the enterprise virtualization stage are two key factors. One is that there continue to be more un-virtualized servers sold than virtualized servers, as documented in a recent IDC webinar. This means that there is still an advantageous market situation for virtualization technology. If people think that the game is over, they are wrong. There are still many organizations in the process of adopting virtualization and there is still a lot of opportunity
The second contributing factor is the unrelenting pressure on organizations to control costs. Customers are looking to reduce their overhead while maintaining the enterprise quality of their infrastructure software. This is very clear. From the start, people looked at virtualization as a way to help them to eliminate underutilized resources and consolidate and share services better, thus lowering their cost. But what they don’t want to do is end up paying a lot for virtualization software as well. We are hearing from customers about their concerns regarding the high cost of proprietary virtualization software and we know that this is becoming a big pain point for them. The pressure to control cost is driving organizations to virtualization in general, and then steering them in particular to KVM.
Still, the trend toward server virtualization has existed for several years, and the pressure to contain costs as well is certainly not new.
Why, then, is 2012 shaping up to be the big year for KVM in particular?
There are three main reasons.
For one thing, Windows servers have virtualized faster than Linux servers, but now KVM is embedded in all of the enterprise-proven Linux distributions including Red Hat and SUSE, as well as in Canonical Ubuntu, making it easy for Linux servers to be virtualized. According to a recent Canonical survey, KVM is now more popular than Xen as a virtualization hypervisor among survey respondents.
In addition, more and more customers are looking at dual virtualization strategies, in which they are adopting KVM in addition to VMware. Why? Cost containment. They have an installed base of VMware, but now that KVM is available and enterprise-ready, they see that for the next wave of server virtualization they can further reduce expenses. The thing that enables this to happen is the availability now of simple and effective virtualization management. For example, IBM Systems Director VMControl which added support for KVM in 2011, enables customers to gain more from infrastructure-wide virtualization. Customers can reduce the total cost of ownership of their virtualized environments – servers, storage and networks – by decreasing management costs and increasing asset utilization. VMControl enables the management of virtual environments across multiple virtualization technologies and hardware platforms, from a single pane of glass, enabling users to benefit from a multi-hypervisor virtualization strategy
IBM’s new SmartCloud Foundation offerings allow organizations to install, manage, configure and automate the creation of cloud services in private, public or hybrid environments with a higher level of control than previously available in the industry. For example, since deploying IBM SmartCloud Provisioning, IBM customer Dutch Cloud, which has a mixed virtualization environment with both KVM and VMware servers, has seen its client base expand significantly while its administrative workload has been reduced. Now the IT team spends 80% of its time on client migrations and only 20% of its time on administration—a more than 70% decrease in administrative time. As a result, Dutch Cloud’s monthly recurring revenue has tripled twice in the last 6 months but their operational costs have remained flat.
KVM has now reached a level of security, enterprise-readiness, and strong third-party support that allows customers to deploy it with confidence and in addition, possesses a robust, and rapidly expanding ecosystem of supporting technology providers.
- IBM and HP servers virtualized by KVM are responsible for the top performance scores on the SPECvirt_sc2010 benchmark, a benchmark for evaluating the virtualization performance of data center server consolidation.
- Underlining KVM’s strong industry support, the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA), which was formed to increase adoption of KVM and encourage third-party solutions to be built around KVM, now has more than 250 members and the new oVirt Project
- has also been created to provide a server virtualization management system for KVM.
And so for all these reasons, it seems clear that 2012 will be a very big year for KVM: major Linux distributions are supporting KVM; enterprises are adopting KVM as part of dual virtualization strategies that have been further bolstered by the development of comprehensive management from a single pane of glass; and, KVM is proving it is secure, enterprise-ready, and has a strong ecosystem around it. Plus, its lower-cost provides a compelling reason for every enterprise large and small to seriously consider KVM. Just as it did for Linux, the tipping point for KVM has arrived.
Director, WW cross-IBM Linux and Open Virtualization