5 Open Source Virtualization Technologies to Watch
By Rodney Gedda
With virtualization now a mainstream technology for most large businesses, the big players like EMC (VMWare), IBM and Microsoft are investing heavily in proprietary options for running multiple guest operating systems on a single machine.
In addition to the commercial products, there is a vibrant open source virtualization ecosystem that CIOs can consider for public and private cloud infrastructure.
In this edition of five open source things to watch, we take a look at virtualization software that can consolidate infrastructure without shrinking the savings.
Short for Kernel-based Virtual Machine, KVM is not as widely deployed as other open source hypervisors, but its stature is growing rapidly.
KVM is a full virtualization hypervisor and can run both Windows and Linux guests.
With the kernel component of KVM included in Linux since kernel 2.6.20, KVM can claim a good level of integration with the rest of the operating system.
KVM received its biggest validation in late 2008 when Linux vendor Red Hat acquired KVM developer, Qumranet. Red Hat now bases its enterprise virtualization server on the KVM hypervisor.
Xen began life as a Microsoft-funded startup at the University of Cambridge and has risen to become the “de facto standard” in Linux hypervisors.
Xen supports paravirtualization and “hardware assisted” virtualization for modified and un-modified guests, respectively.
Guests can be Linux or Windows, but the overwhelming majority of guests are Linux variants, particularly in the hosting space.
A few years ago quite a few commercial software vendors, including Novell and Oracle, adopted Xen and then — seemingly out of nowhere — the commercial startup behind Xen, XenSource, was acquired by Citrix. Citrix has been Xen-happy ever since.
Recently, CIO reported on the private cloud development at the ACMA in Canberra, which is based on Citrix’s Xen hypervisor.