First-ever KVM Center of Excellence is located in Beijing where virtualization is being adopted rapidly.
IBM opened its first-ever KVM Center of Excellence focused on open virtualization with KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) event in Beijing, China last week. I participated in the KVM Center of Excellence launch event in Beijing, and was really excited at the level of interest we got from the Chinese media and analysts that participated in the event. We are already seeing some good media coverage for KVM in China (see IBM press release here).
IBM executives reveal the opening of the first KVM Center of Excellence - Beijing, November 28, 2012 (from left Jean Staten Healy, Kelly Beavers, Dominic Tong, Josephine Cheng)
With this new KVM Center of Excellence, we are leveraging IBM’s KVM expertise in China to make it easy for clients and partners to have access to briefings, to enrich their staffs with training, and to conduct proofs of concept of their own solutions. We chose China for this first KVM Center of Excellence, because of the tremendous growth of virtualization deployments in China. According to IDC, virtualization is growing faster in China than the rest of the world, making it critical for these organizations to get the information they need now. In short, the goal is to enable organizations to become educated about open virtualization and particularly KVM so they can make smarter choices about the virtualization technology they rely on.
For several years now, IBM products and initiatives have been associated with a theme of building a smarter planet. At the most fundamental level, this basically means enabling better decision making with intelligent analysis based on hard facts and detailed information. For us here at IBM, this is not a marketing slogan, it forms the basis of our efforts. In turn, the KVM Center of Excellence located in Beijing will allow both businesses and government organizations to learn about the realities of open virtualization not only from IBM but also its enterprise Linux partners including Red Hat and SUSE, who are actively participating in the center by making their software – and their expertise – available.
IBM understands virtualization from the
ground up. In fact, IBM actually created the concept that is now known as
virtualization in 1964, by implementing a hypervisor on the IBM /360 mainframe.
If the main point of server virtualization is to more efficiently share the
resources of IT systems in order to lower costs and create a more productive
and flexible environment, then open virtualization with KVM takes that approach
even further on x86-based systems. It allows organizations to avoid the high
cost of proprietary virtualization technologies as well as avoid vendor lock-in
which can limit their choices in the future. KVM is separate and distinct
from other virtualization technologies because it is built on the Linux kernel,
and because of that connection, benefits from the vast worldwide open source
community of programmers that have contributed to Linux. IBM has for many years
committed developers contributing code to Linux development, further enhancing
its deep understanding of the kernel, and has been contributing to KVM since
2007. Today, IBM has dozens of programmers and engineers worldwide working on
KVM as part of the open source community. IBM contributes to KVM across a broad
range of development areas, including performance, security and cloud computing.
A key value proposition for KVM is the
ability to reduce the overall cost of ownership for virtualization solutions
(read more about that here).
But, beyond the significant advantage of lower cost, KVM offers additional advantages
in terms of security, performance, and cloud computing. There are also a range
of virtualization management solutions to support it.
In terms of security, the Mandatory Access Control security delivered by SELinux and leveraged by KVM goes beyond the Discretionary Access Control enabled by other hypervisors to provide isolation between virtual machines. IBM and Red Hat also recently announced that KVM has achieved Common Criteria Certification with EAL4+ (for RHEL 6 with KVM on IBM System x). The Common Criteria is a set of standards used by governments and other organizations to evaluate the security of technology products. KVM is also included into the Linux source code development tree, rather than being a separate add-on, so it is fully tested and integrated.
Underscoring its performance, KVM holds the top seven virtual machine scores on the SPECvirt benchmark. Virtualization is also the foundation of cloud computing and open virtualization, in turn, supports open clouds. For cloud service providers, cost efficiency of KVM is also critical so that they can provide their services at reasonable rates. Since customers don’t care about the hypervisor on the back end but are mainly concerned with a high level of service and affordability, KVM is being adopted by cloud service providers.
Notable advances have also been made in management solutions that enable KVM to be controlled alongside other virtualization technologies like VMware. IBM is investing significantly in KVM development and has developed a range of solutions to support it within its own solutions. For example, IBM Systems Director VMControl enables the simplified management of virtual environments across multiple virtualization technologies and hardware platforms, and IBM SmartCloud Entry is a self-service portal for the cloud end-user that complements IBM Systems Director VMControl. Additional IBM offerings with KVM support include IBM SmartCloud Provisioning - which provides high-scale provisioning on heterogeneous hypervisor and hardware platforms - as well as IBM Tivoli offerings, IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, IBM PureSystems, IBM System x, and IBM zEnterprise zBX Blades.
KVM Center of Excellence in Beijing is Logical Next Step
Creating a KVM Center of Excellence is the logical next step in IBM’s journey to support and promoting open source technologies.
In 1999, IBM threw its support behind the Linux operating system, and since then, IBM has been a tireless supporter of Linux and open source technologies, contributing financial and technical assistance, and as an extension of that commitment, has also become and dedicated member of the KVM community. The open source ecosystem is constantly expanding, providing a rich assortment of solutions to benefit the community at large. Organizations have been launched to advance open virtualization, supported by industry leaders, including IBM and its partners.
For example, there is the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA), a marketing alliance focused on promoting KVM and open virtualization technologies. As of May 2012 the OVA had more than 250 members, including IBM as one of the governing Board Members. The oVirt project is another open source community, formed by IBM, Red Hat, SUSE and others. It is committed to establishing a development community around an integrated virtualization platform that offers advanced virtualization management tools to manage the KVM hypervisor. And, earlier this year, the independent OpenStack Foundation was also founded to promote the development, distribution and adoption of the OpenStack cloud software. IBM is a platinum member of the OpenStack Foundation which aims to serve developers, users, and the entire ecosystem by providing a set of shared resources to grow the footprint of public and private OpenStack clouds. Even though OpenStack supports multiple hypervisors, according to IDC KVM is the unofficial reference standard today with over 95% of OpenStack deployments using KVM today. And of course, there is The Linux Foundation, the non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, of which IBM is a platinum member.
Alongside this first IBM KVM Center of Excellence, there are over 20 KVM developers in Beijing who contribute technical expertise. The KVM Center of Excellence in Beijing is open for business and we encourage clients, partners and IBMers to come to the center to learn about the open virtualization choices available and particularly about KVM so they can make smarter decisions about the technology their infrastructures will rely on.
Jean Staten Healy - Director, Worldwide Linux and Open Virtualization, IBM