Yesterday, 7 industry leaders announced the formation of the Open Virtualization Alliance. (Click here to see the press release). IBM, BMC Software, Eucalyptus, HP, IBM, Intel, Red Hat and SUSE have created this consortium to foster the adoption of open virtualization technologies including Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM).
The Open Virtualization Alliance will promote examples of customer successes, encourage interoperability and accelerate the expansion of the ecosystem of third party solutions around KVM, providing businesses improved choice, performance and price for virtualization. The Open Virtualization Alliance will provide education, best practices and technical advice to help businesses understand and evaluate their virtualization options. The consortium complements the existing open source communities managing the development of the KVM hypervisor and associated management capabilities, which are rapidly driving technology innovations for customers virtualizing both Linux and Windows® applications.
So, why this focus on KVM? It’s all about choice and cost. KVM is an open source hypervisor that provides enterprise-class performance and scalability to run mission critical Windows and Linux workloads. Because it’s open source, KVM is a cost effective alternative. Because IBM and Red Hat stand behind it, it’s enterprise ready.
KVM is the most recent step in the evolution of open source x86 virtualization. Based on Linux, KVM is the most cost effective virtualization technology in the market. KVM scales and is secure, and delivers the benefits provided through the open source community, avoiding vendor “lock in”.
KVM is unique because it turns the Linux kernel into a bare-metal hypervisor using the hardware virtualization support in Intel and AMD processors. KVM runs Linux, Windows, and other types of virtual machines directly on hardware and as the x86 hardware virtualization support has improved, so has the performance of KVM.
A KVM hypervisor inherits the performance, scalability and security characteristics of Linux - which has been enterprise hardened for over 10 years and is trusted by millions of organizations in the heart of their data center to run their mission critical workloads. KVM scalability was recently demonstrated by a SPECvirt publication using a 64-core, 2 TB IBM x5 3850 server that achieved 336 actively running guests, more than twice the capacity of the nearest competitive result. KVM (RHEV) also rated a very credible # 2 in a recent Infoworld virtualization shoot-out.
Since KVM is based on Linux, its developers do not need to develop every feature from scratch, rather they benefit from relevant features in the Linux kernel. KVM naturally leverages the scheduler, memory management, power management hardware device drivers, platform support, and other features continuously being produced by the thousands of developers in the Linux community, giving KVM a significant "feature velocity" and broad source code review that other virtualization solutions cannot match. KVM has also helped to bring new features to the Linux kernel including kernel page sharing (KSM), transparent large page support, and a new user-mode device driver infrastructure.
IBM has brought into KVM its expertise and longstanding commitment to enterprise virtualization and open source:
· Development - IBM developers have provided key KVM features around performance, security, resource over-commitment, and reliability.
· Customer Solutions – IBM has large teams of engineers and architects dedicated to helping customers exploit the benefits of KVM in their enterprise. IBM’s many customer engagements have provided direct input to KVM enhancements.
· Product Support – A large and growing number of IBM products take advantage of open virtualization and KVM technology.
IBM software products that support KVM today include: IBM DB2, IBM ILOG, IBM Change and Configuration Management Database, IBM Lotus Domino Next, IBM Lotus Forms, IBM Lotus Web Content Management, IBM Maximo Asset Management, IBM Tivoli Access Manager, IBM Tivoli Asset Management for IT, IBM Tivoli Monitoring, IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager, IBM Tivoli Service Request Manager, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, IBM Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager, IBM Websphere, and more ….
KVM has matured rapidly in recent years, and today offers an enterprise-class, open virtualization alternative on IBM System x®, BladeCenter® and other x86 servers. With top performance benchmarks, superior scalability and leading security capabilities, KVM offers both Linux® and Windows® customers a choice as well as lower costs.
KVM is Ready for Business.
Jean Staten Healy
Director, WW Cross-IBM Linux and Open Virtualization, IBM