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

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However, one piece of the KVM puzzle that is still missing is the lack of a complete management environment. But this is also a great opportunity for the growing OVA list of third-party member companies. Much like what happened within VMware's own ecosystem very early on, this should prove to be a thriving area for KVM's ecosystem to line up and start supplying those missing pieces of the puzzle. Tradition systems management vendors such as BMC, CA, HP, and IBM are already members of the OVA and can be assumed ready to bring similar management features to the KVM hypervisor as they have done with VMware.

VKernel, a recent addition to the Open Virtualization Alliance, is also a longtime VMware ecosystem partner that has created numerous software applications to help enhance and ease the management burden of VMware environments. But the company has been expanding those products lately to become less dependent on VMware's hypervisor and to become more heterogeneous by announcing additional support for other virtualization platforms such as Microsoft Hyper-V and KVM. The company told InfoWorld that this decision to move toward supporting KVM technology has been driven by customer demand.

According to Bryan Semple, the chief marketing officer at VKernel, there are a couple of factors out there making the world more hypervisor agnostic these days, including:

  • Application affinity for a specific hypervisor. Some applications will just more easily operate with a specific hypervisor for a variety of reasons. ISV support for a hypervisor, go to market packaging, technical scalability.
  • The hypervisor of record to support all virtual desktops is far from decided. As many organizations deploy virtual desktops, non-VMware solutions will increase.
  • Pricing, taxes, and vendor lock in. The VMware vTAX debacle really woke people up to being single sourced around one vendor for their hypervisor.
  • Management rules. If you own the management stack, the hypervisor gets even more commoditized. Microsoft has more of footprint in the management space than VMware. Microsoft's heterogeneous management capabilities will help drive Hyper-V but also heterogeneous environments in general.
  • Linux purity. If Linux runs through your blood, why would you allow a proprietary hypervisor into your environment? Linux purists will look to KVM.

Semple went on to say, "These factors will drive more and more heterogeneity in the data center. And VKernel thinks it is important to support these customers, especially the Linux purists. Hence, joining the OVA is a logical implementation of our multi-hypervisor strategy."

Semple added that there are a lot of Linux admins out there who don't like the thought of having to use a proprietary hypervisor in their open environments. In his opinion, KVM supported by the OVA will see rapid adoption in these environments.

Despite the success that the OVA is currently having signing up new partners, the group still remains in an uphill battle. VMware currently dominates the server virtualization market with somewhere between 75 to 80 percent of the market under its control. But Microsoft isn't sitting idly by. Competition out of Redmond may again be heating up with the recent announcements around Hyper-V 3.0 and Microsoft Windows 8 Server, which doesn't make KVM's goal of advancement any easier.

With KVM still being a dark horse in this race, the OVA and its 200 members strong may be exactly what this hypervisor technology needs in order to shine a spotlight on itself to help gain greater market acceptance from companies who may not yet be aware of the hypervisor's capabilities and offerings. On the other hand, if Red Hat and the newly formed group aren't careful, KVM could slip and become just another Xen story in the world of hypervisors.

This article, "Ascending Open Virtualization Alliance aims to bolster KVM usage," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in virtualization at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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