Does Shift happen ?

Last week’s announcement of RHEL 6 Beta not including Xen anymore probably is the start of a new era in open source virtualization. While the signs were on the wall since RedHat acquired Qumranet it has never been more visible.

The tone has been set …in the same week RedHat announces RHEL6 Beta with only KVM support, Canonical announces 12000 UEC Deployments. UEC is Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud , it’s their Eucalyptus implementation, or should we say integration ?
12000 deployments of UEC sounds like a lot, maybe a bit too much to believe today … ,

It’s probably too early to say that there are more KVM than Xen deployments today (certainly taking into account Amazon’s giant Xen deployments ) , but when talking to different ISP’s and Cloud Vendors you feel that there is a trend towards preferring KVM over Xen.

The biggest argument for KVM today is the fact that you can turn any recent Linux box into a Virtual Machine container with a couple of comands. The fact that KVM is part of the Linux Kernel and doesn’t require you to add extra components to your distibution makes it a lot easier to deploy and validate as opposed to a Xen setup that still needs extra changes and isn’t in the main kernel.

Today main reason why people are still considering Xen in some projects is legacy hardware not having a VT chipset yet … lots of older hardware can be put to good use with the performance that Xen’s paravirtualization brings .

When given choice of KVM / Xen or VirtualBox for their future Open Source virtualization deploymetns, Almost 50% of the people questioned plan on using KVM for their next deployment, as opposed to only about 30% planning to use Xen.

So at first KVM was being ignored, then being laughed at for not being a dedicated hypervisor but being part fo the Operating System .. and now apparently it’s time for the fight … and what a fight .

With much sadness we read Simon Crosby’s FUDitorial about RedHat’s KVM adoption.

When people start calling OEL a “superior enterprise version of RHEL” a red light starts flashing for me , so is Oracle planning to acquire Citrix any time soon ? As the only way to explain Simon talking about RHEL not being available for download and no sources being availble at all, I can think off is that he is already thinking about how to please his next employer.. Simon’s reaction tries to make the RedHat move look insignificant for some, for others it might be the drop that makes them really switch to KVM as it clearly is full of FUD regarding to RedHat

Oracle was betting heavily on Xen, Sun was also putting a lot of effort into xVM, however the Sun xVM effort seems to wander off towards more VirtualBox efforts. Obviously Citrix won’t head towards KVM anyh time soon .. but the big question is .. what will the masses do ?

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

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