KVM is a concept of integrated virtualization

by Sharon Lobo    May 20, 2010

Being a core part of the Linux kernel, Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), a
hardware assisted full virtualization, is able to inherit key features from
the Linux kernel. In an interview to CXOtoday, Andy Karandikar, Marketing- Head, Red Hat India Pvt. Ltd explains the benefits of KVM over other hypervisors and organizations have begun to realize that desktop virtualization results in savings.


What are the latest innovations in virtualization space?

Currently we are witnessing the 3rd generation of virtualization
technology, which is KVM. KVM is
hardware assisted full virtualization, where an x86 based
virtualization from being a separate piece in the stack in the form of
a hypervisor, becomes a core part of operting system (OS).

Could you tell us more about KVM based virtualization?
KVM builds on the concept of integrated virtualization, where the
hypervisor is a natural extension of the OS. It also represents the latest generation of
open source virtualization and is implemented as a loadable
kernel module that converts the Linux kernel into a bare metal
hypervisor.

KVM has rapidly matured into a stable and high performance hypervisor,
better than other hypervisors because it was designed after the advent
of hardware assisted virtualization, and hence it did not have to
implement features that were provided by hardware. Also as KVM is a
core part of the Linux kernel it is able to inherit key features from
the Linux kernel.

What form of virtualization (Desktop, Server, Storage, Network,
Applications, Software) is gaining popularity among Indian business and
why?

Server Virtualization has definitely taken off on an exponential curve.
Studies state that less than 20 percent of servers worldwide have been
virtualized and the average server utilization typically hovers around
20-25 percent. So this space definitely offers a huge potential for
consolidation / improvement for CIOs.

More recently organizations have begun to realize that the actual
savings lies in desktop virtualization. Maximum amount of resources in
terms of people, software, manageability are consumed by the desktops
in an organization. The potential that lies in desktop virtualization
to optimize resources is immense and hence CIOs are creatively thinking
to save costs involved in managing and maintaining desktops.

To what extent is virtualization secure and cost effective?

Any virtual environment is only as secure as the hypervisor itself. As
a result the hypervisor is undoubtedly a tempting target for hackers as exploiting it could lead to the compromise of all virtual
machines it is hosting. However KVM based virtualization provides a secure virtualization infrastructure. As KVM leverages SELinux (Security Enhanced Linux), which is part of the Linux
kernel and thereby provides strict resource isolation and confinement
for processes running in the Linux kernel.

On the cost front, virtualization delivers significant cost advantages
through improved server utilization, reduced hardware costs, reduced
power and cooling costs, increased capital efficiency and improved
management efficiency.

How do CIOs find virtualization?
CIOs see an immediate and significant cost advantage through server
consolidation and immediately reducing datacenter footprint, cooling
costs, cost of power. Beyond this they are also realizing that
virtualization is enhancing their ability to respond to business
contingencies, and providing greater agility to respond to business
challenges.

What are the future trends you see in the virtualization space?
With KVM based virtualization we are seeing customers getting ready
with an enterprise infrastructure that is ready to leverage the cloud.
Virtualization is the first step of being able to move one’s
application to the cloud and leverage the cloud for future
requirements.

We are also seeing the advent of anytime, anywhere computing with
enterprises having the flexibility to host their applications in a
physical environment or a hybrid environment (physical & virtual)
or completely virtual environment such as the cloud.