While the Xen.org community has been working diligently to package and update these patches to appease those in control of the Linux kernel mainline, it has received increased competition from KVM, which has had time to improve its core technology and scalability, and increase its number of enterprise-ready features. In addition to being championed by Red Hat and Ubuntu, KVM is also finding a nice home within the more modern and growing area of cloud computing with large cloud hosting providers such as IBM and The Planet.
KVM is also receiving additional support with the recently announced Open Virtualization Alliance, a consortium of software and hardware vendors such as Red Hat, HP, IBM, and Intel, who are intent on educating the market and encouraging organizations to adopt the KVM hypervisor technology and the ecosystem of technologies being developed around it.
But Xen is still the more mature platform and is currently ahead of KVM in terms of market deployment and use. The Xen hypervisor is also the foundation for many public and private cloud architectures currently in operation, as well as many of those being planned.
Xen continues to be a prominent part of the Citrix cloud story as well. During Citrix Synergy, the company announced its plans to launch Project Olympus by the end of the year, a commercialized version of the OpenStack open source cloud solution backed by partners such as Rackspace and Dell.
Both of these open source virtualization technologies are going to have an uphill battle when it comes to going against companies like the current virtualization market leader VMware and the Hyper-V creator Microsoft. But with both technologies now part of the Linux kernel and both technologies becoming a foundation for the growing cloud computing movement, it may be customer demand for openness in the cloud stack that helps them fight the existing powers that be.
At the end of the day, Simon Crosby puts it best when he writes: "Pick your preferred way to consume virtualization -- as an infrastructure abstraction independent of any OS (Xen), or as a component of your Linux distro (KVM)," and then adding "Ultimately the Linux and Xen communities have done the right thing for developers, customers and the market in general, permitting choice."
This article, "Linux kernel update provides open source virtualization users with a choice," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.