Kimchi is a spicy Korean side dish. It is also the code name for a new open source virtualization management project that offers sweet familiarity.
Kimchi is a new open source project aimed at providing an easy on-ramp for people who would like to start using KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) but believe it will be too difficult. Kimchi is targeted at users who may have avoided the open source hypervisor because they don’t have experience with Linux or don’t have the ability to install a management server, or simply don’t have time to invest in Linux administration.
But unlike the spicy side dish Kimchi, the open source project Kimchi offers a taste of something sweet - a familiar user interface for virtualization management. Put simply, that is what Kimchi is all about - removing barriers to using KVM for a set of potential users.
Open Source Tool Designed to Appeal to VMware and Windows Administrators
There are certainly people in the enterprise who are Linux administrators and are perfectly comfortable with the way KVM is today. They regularly work with Linux admin tools and KVM fits right in to their day-to-day practice.
But there are also VMware administrators and Windows administrators who are not familiar with Linux admin practices and are not comfortable with the KVM tools. These people in particular will benefit from Kimchi, since the user interface is similar to that of VMware and Windows tools, thus helping to ease the transition to KVM.
Kimchi’s Role in the KVM Ecosystem
If you have one Linux server, then installing Kimchi on that server is quick and easy. Kimchi puts a thin layer over what is already there with KVM and Linux. You don’t need to install a separate management server. All you have to do point your browser to the KVM host and with just a couple of clicks, you can install your first guest and start running it.
While it does not come as part of KVM yet, it is hoped that Kimchi will be mature enough to be packaged up with some of the community Linux distributions in 2014, and then be included in some enterprise Linux distributions after that. The beauty of the Kimchi interface is that it boils management features down to their essence, simplifying everything, without a requirement that users have any Linux skills. And, it is rendered using HTML5 so there is total independence of both device and operating system, meaning that you can use Kimchi from a Windows or Linux work station, or a tablet or a phone.
Kimchi Reaches a Functional Milestone
Because it is a simple point-to-point management tool, it is not able to provide clustering or resource pooling. Users are limited to managing a few hundred virtual machines at a time, one host at a time.
Kimchi reached a functional milestone in October 2013 with the release of Version 1. Although it is still early in the development process for the project, it is now at the point where we think it has enough functionality for people to try it. The clear advantage is that users don’t need to maintain any management infrastructure - and they can get started using KVM right away.
IBM’s Commitment to Kimchi
IBM supports Kimchi because it represents another way to promote KVM adoption and remove barriers to open source virtualization, which IBM believes is a smart choice. Kimchi is a sound, multi-platform management tool. We, at IBM, are also using it to manage KVM on Power. It will come bundled with KVM on Power, available later in 2014.
Future Development Plans for Kimchi
At this point, the focus for Kimchi going forward is on community building and additional feature development. The input from the community will determine the future direction for Kimchi, which is an Apache-licensed project hosted on GitHub, and incubated by oVirt.org.
If you would like to learn more about Kimchi and get involved, go here.
IBM Distinguished Engineer and Chief Virtualization Architect Open Systems Development