With the help of a robust ecosystem, open source technologies such as KVM become a force to be reckoned with.
What is it that causes some new technologies to gain wide acceptance while others simply fall by the wayside? It’s a given that in order to be meaningful, new technologies must be enterprise-grade, they must be cost-effective, and they must address a real need. And, at least in the open source world, the endorsement of a robust community is the other critical factor. KVM (Kernel-based Virtualization Machine) is a case in point.
KVM has made great progress since its inclusion in the Linux kernel in 2007, observes analyst Gary Chen in a recent IDC white paper. In addition, he notes, the strength of KVM as well as its ecosystem makes KVM an increasingly attractive virtualization choice for customers that rely on Linux and beyond.
The point is: You may have a product, but if you don’t also have an ecosystem, you will hit the “so what” factor. In essence, there is not a complete solution – at least, not until there is a community around it. And the more individuals and companies that contribute code to an open source initiative, include the technology in their products, and provide services related to it, the more polished the solution stack becomes.
Take a look at the ecosystem around KVM and you will find a range of robust communities that aim to address a specific area or requirement. IBM, which has backed open standards and open source technologies for a long time, is a founding member of each. And of course KVM itself is developed by an open source community.
The OpenStack Foundation, for example, is a recent entrant into the open source ecosystem around KVM. Launched as an independent foundation in 2012, the goal of the OpenStack Foundation is to foster cloud interoperability. The OpenStack Foundation serves developers, users, and the entire ecosystem by providing a set of shared resources to grow the footprint of public and private OpenStack clouds. To date, the foundation has more than 9,800 individual members from 87 countries – and has also secured more than $10 million in funding.
The Open Virtualization Alliance, launched in May 2011, is a consortium committed to fostering the adoption of open virtualization with KVM. To date, the OVA counts more than 250 vendors from all over the world among its membership. The consortium advances awareness and understanding of KVM, drives adoption of KVM-based solutions, and helps promote interoperability and best practices to accelerate the expansion of the ecosystem of third-party solutions around KVM – giving enterprises improved choice, performance and price through open virtualization with KVM.
Modeled after the Apache Foundation, Eclipse, LVM, and many other open source communities, the oVirt Project, was launched in December 2011. oVirt develops and distributes an open source virtualization management platform that combines the KVM hypervisor with capabilities for hosts and guests. In this way it supports organizations looking for open alternatives to traditional virtualization technology, both for the hypervisor and virtualization management.
Some individuals and organizations – like IBM – are involved with all three of these groups. Others select the one that meets their own unique interests or needs. But while there is an open invitation to participate, make no mistake – open source communities are merit-based systems. This is a good thing – the communities provide a stimulating combination of competition and cooperation – creating what we call “a friction of ideas.” And this is what ultimately results in high-quality, well-vetted products.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity. Get involved!
Adam Jollans - Program Director, Worldwide Linux and Open Virtualization Strategy, IBM