Linux Foundation adopts Open Virtualization Alliance and KVM

The Linux Foundation used to be just about Linux. Now it's also directly backiing virtualization with support for Linux and the Open Virtualization Alliance's KVM.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

In Edinburgh, Scotland at the European LinuxCon the Linux Foundation announced that the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA) is becoming a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.


The OVA is dedicated to Linux's own built-in virtualization system: the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM). This, in turn, runs on x86 hardware that supports the Intel VT or AMD-V virtualization extensions. IBM is also porting KVM to its Power architecture.

KVM is made up a loadable kernel module, kvm.ko, which provides the core virtualization infrastructure and a processor specific module, kvm-intel.ko or kvm-amd.ko. KVM also requires a modified QEMU (a fast X86 emulator). It's been in the main Linux kernel since the 2.6.20 release.

Technically, KVM's been very successful and it's quite popular with developers. Still, KVM has had trouble gaining commercial success against its Citrix XenServer and VMware ESX virtualization rivals. Hence, the OVA was founded by HP, Intel, IBM, and Red Hat in 2010.

Since then more than 250 companies have joined the OVA. They will now contribute to and guide the Collaborative Project. It's these groups' hope that, under Linux Foundation guidance, KVM will finally achieve greater business acceptance.

As Scott Firth, IBM's director of Marketing for Software-Defined Environment, said in a statement, "KVM is growing rapidly because of its unique combination of high performance, low cost and flexibility. The Linux Foundation will help OVA extend its reach to even more businesses and projects, from Linux to cloud computing, and we look forward to what OVA can accomplish as a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project."

"While hosting code and providing open source governance best practices is a big part of what we offer, we’re also happy to provide guidance to organizations that want to reduce operating costs, maximize promotional reach and increase participation among diverse stakeholders," added Jim Zemlin, The Linux Foundation's Executive Director. "The Open Virtualization Alliance is a natural addition to our Collaborative Projects and we’re very happy to support all virtualization technologies that help advance Linux."

The Linux Foundation has been expanding from its original mission of supporting just Linux. Recently, it managed to get many industry rivals to come together to support software-defined networking (SDN) in the OpenDaylight Project.

As Al Gillen, IDC's Program VP for System Software, noted in a statement, "The Linux Foundation hosts some of the most important technology efforts in the software industry today. It is also widely known for its ability to educate and advocate for those technologies. By moving to The Linux Foundation as a Collaborative Project, OVA will gain expertise and an extended network that will benefit KVM for the long run."

Can The Linux Foundation make KVM a household name in the virtualization space? The non-profit is certainly going to try.

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