The future of Linux and Virtualization

While catching up on my reading backlog I ran into an article over at Ostatic titled, “Linux and Virtualization will March Forward Together” ,

Bob Sutor from IBM is quoted in that article stating

“I think Linux is such a natural for virtualization, both as a host and as a guest, and this will drive Linux even deeper into datacenters. Why? Linux and virtualization increase efficiency, allow consolidation, help reduce power and heat generated, and reduce server footprint. When you combine this with the quality of service offered by mainframes, you get even more benefits. When you open all this up to new ways of scheduling and managing applications, clouds emerge. So I think virtualization is key to what will foster greater use of Linux in the next decade.”

Apparently some study figured out that there are even better TCO savings for Linux virtualization as compared to Windows Virtualization and that Linux users Virtualize more . Obviously the license issues with other platforms make it much easier to deploy , and that’s what makes it the default platform in the cloud

Now the really strange thing is that the Linux platform is probably the platform that thad didn’t need Virtualization in the virst place.
All the claims for security, isolation , dll conflicts, finer process isolation etc might be relevant on different platforms but Unix and Linux already had chroots, cpu locking, nice, ionice and others. Good practice can get you pretty far in creating an strict and managable isolated environment, don’t get me wrong there are lot of valid reasons to virtualize on Linux, but the number of reasons not to is probably equally long

As @Beaker also realized adding the extra os layer each time add another factor , a potential performance penalty, another layer to manage, secure and update

So are Bob Sutor and Matt Asay right on their future of Linux Virtualization ? Will it continue to grow, will Linux Virtualization grow bigger than any other platform ?

Off course it will , Linux is the ideal open source platform in the cloud, it’s the perfect light JeOS on a thin Bare Metal Hypervisor , or even Linux as the Hypervisor ? But the average user won’t notice, just as he doesn’t notice now . Virtualization will become invisible again it will become a part of your infrastructure like a CPU or a Switch ,Typical Virtualization management platforms will disappear, or blend in with platforms that manage your infrastructure as a whole.
By then it’s time for a new hype.

About the author

Kris Buytaert is a long time Linux and Open Source Consultant active in Belgium , Europe and the rest of the universe. He is currently working for Inuits Kris is the Co-Author of Virtualization with Xen ,used to be the maintainer of the openMosix HOWTO and author of different technical publications. He is frequently speaking at, or organizing different international conferences He spends most of his time working on Linux Clustering (both High Availability, Scalability and HPC), Virtualisation and Large Infrastructure Management projects hence trying to build infrastructures that can survive the 10th floor test, better known today as the cloud while actively promoting the devops idea ! His blog titled "Everything is a Freaking DNS Problem" can be found at

One Comment

  1. Great post Krys. 100% agree with you.
    Linux has so many things right from the beginning, including also multi session, etc.

    While I have no doubt that linux related virtualization technologies should represent a great approach in the cloud, the Windows side will still have a major representation on the desktop virtualization side, so you need both solutions and they have to work well together.

    This is a deep trend that is taking place in both open source oriented companies as well as the big commercial ones, for the benefits of the customers.


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