Last night I arrived in beautiful Tucson, Arizona for the KVM Forum 2007. This is the first gathering of the community surrounding the Kernel-based Virtual Machine project. The agenda is impressive with speakers from the development team, Intel, IBM, AMD, and others. The event is presented by Qumranet, the company supporting the KVM open source project.
As you may remember, I mentioned KVM in this article. Although Rails Machine’s virtualization infrastructure is based on Xen and CentOS, my local development environment is powered by Ubuntu and KVM (on a Thinkpad X60s and a home built Core 2 Quad).
So, why is KVM different? It leverages the hardware virtualization support in recent processors and uses the linux kernel as the hypervisor. This approach leads to a small implementation and easy integration. You can get up and running with KVM with simple package install commands on Ubuntu. It does not require an entire toolset that reimplements the functions of the operating system. For example, with KVM you can use the standard linux process tools like ‘ps’ and ‘top’ to manage virtual server processes. Read more about it in the kvm whitepaper.
KVM development is moving at a blistering pace. The patchset was introduced in October 2006 and merged into the kernel in December. With less than a year of development, the KVM team has added features and capabilities that has taken others much longer. Combined with the commitment to Linux and open source, KVM has an exciting future ahead.