Several key areas of strong adoption have emerged for the open source hypervisor.
Over the past year, we have seen a marked shift in the conversation around KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine). Questions early on focused on whether the open source hypervisor could be trusted as an enterprise-grade virtualization solution. We think that question has been answered with a resounding “Yes, KVM is ready for business!” Most recently, we demonstrated with a first-ever virtualized x86 TPC-C benchmark result that even the most demanding and complex workloads can be virtualized – with KVM. Nothing though speaks better to adoption in the enterprise than clients actually using it. Today, many IBM clients have deployed KVM with IBM hardware and/or software and you can read their success stories here.
Now, the questions around KVM have changed. Today, clients want to understand where KVM is being used, who is using it, and why it is being used. In answering their questions, we have identified several areas in which KVM is frequently adopted. Here, a brief look at a few use case scenarios leading the way in KVM adoption.
Companies with Linux servers in their data centers – KVM is the natural choice for companies that already have Linux servers since:
- KVM is an integrated feature of any current enterprise distribution of Linux, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Canonical Ubuntu LTS;
- It is less expensive to deploy KVM virtual machines on existing Linux servers than to purchase new proprietary virtualization technology;
- The KVM administration interface is very Linux-like; and KVM can support both Linux and Windows workloads.
Cloud service providers and organizations building their own private clouds – At its core, a move to the cloud is about cutting costs and enabling flexibility. Both cloud service providers and organizations building private clouds need:
- Low cost virtualization software which KVM provides;
- High-level reliability and advanced security, which KVM enables through Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) which enables Mandatory Access Control; and
- The ability to achieve a high level of virtual machine density, which KVM also enables, as demonstrated in a recent SPECvirt benchmark.
Multi-hypervisor environments – After organizations have become familiar with server virtualization, they are often open to the idea of a second hypervisor, particularly if it can provide them with expanded benefits and lower costs. According to the Gabriel Consulting report, “‘Hyperversity’ Rages On,” based on Gabriel’s annual and independent x86 Data Center Survey, two-thirds of the respondents are using two or more hypervisors. Many organizations have a second-source policy for their major IT components, including hypervisors.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) – KVM’s strengths shine in the virtual desktop arena because of the weight placed on sharing resources, high reliability, security, and performance. Vissensa, a managed service provider, successfully provisions flexible desktops using a virtual desktop solution with a KVM implementation of Virtual Bridges VERDE.
Business-Critical Applications –Organizations that want to create a responsive business infrastructure for the future are increasingly seeing benefits in expanding virtualization to their mission-critical systems. For example, using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Casio Computer Company has not only decreased its costs but also addressed business management challenges, and laid the groundwork for a future cloud environment.
KVM’s Place in the Enterprise
While there is still room for further growth in terms of KVM’s market penetration, these five use cases represent a base in the enterprise on which KVM is building a strong presence. We will explore each of these use cases in more detail in future blogs.
Jean Staten Healy - Director, Worldwide Linux and Open Virtualization, IBM