Ascending Open Virtualization Alliance aims to bolster KVM usage

Open source KVM virtualization hypervisor shines with performance, scale, security, but new ecosystem targets management stack

The Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA) recently announced it has increased its membership by adding 134 new members, bringing the group's total to more than 200 members since its formation back in May of this year. That's a 20-fold increase in membership since its launch, signaling a strong growth of interest in KVM's core technology and a growing number of companies hungry to partner and build an ecosystem of solutions around an open source platform.

According to a recent member survey, more than 50 percent of OVA members are focused on cloud computing in their day-to-day businesses, with virtualization being a key enabling component of the cloud. The group also announced that many of its new members come from emerging markets in Asia and Latin America.

[ Also on InfoWorld.com: Advanced networking finally comes to Windows virtualization with Hyper-V 3.0. | Also read about how Windows 8 with Hyper-V will require new hardware. | Keep up on virtualization by signing up for InfoWorld's Virtualization newsletter. ]

In case you aren't already familiar with the OVA, it is a consortium committed to promoting KVM's (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) open source virtualization platform as an alternative to proprietary and more expensive hypervisor solutions currently on the market. The group's goal is to increase the adoption of and confidence in KVM-based options through marketing campaigns and the hosting of industry events. And its founding members include such heavy hitters as BMC Software, HP, IBM, Intel, and Red Hat.

The group knows that KVM usage is increasing, but it still barely tips the scales when compared to the market share owned by VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix.

However, unlike these other three platforms, KVM does have a number of advantages being touted by the OVA. For one, KVM is open source technology that is found as part of the Linux kernel. And that makes its price quite competitive. The speed of innovation with open source development is another attractive attribute for KVM. Because so many developers work on open source offerings, the technology can advance itself very quickly.

The OVA is also touting other technology advances in KVM. The hypervisor is establishing a footprint with leading virtualization benchmark performance results. For example, of the 17 SPECvirt 2010 benchmark results published at spec.org, 10 were achieved using KVM technology, including the highest performance benchmark overall and the highest number of performant virtual machines running on a single host.

In addition to performance, security within virtualization has become a major focal point. The hypervisor uses Security-Enhanced Linux, developed by the U.S. National Security Agency. It is this high level of security that appeals to organizations around the world, including many cloud providers. With hardened security features already built into the platform, companies can spend less time and money on virtualization security tools.

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