Open Source KVM vs. Proprietary Approach to Virtualization

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Implementing virtualization in the data center represents the first step toward leveraging cloud-based computing and reducing costs. For example, in the case of Colosseum Online, the company needed to increase capacity to meet intense provisioning requirements, an expanding customer base, and ongoing management needs. Instead of operating as a conventional ISP with a standard server-based data center, the company wanted to offer co-location, scalable cloud capabilities, and network services.

Colosseum found that moving to an open source architecture based on RHEL KVM offered the best solution. That’s because combining a tightly-integrated, kernel-based hypervisor with an open source management technology offers a range of advantages, including the following.

Licensing. One reason open source offers a compelling alternative to proprietary solutions is due to lower software licensing costs. That’s because technologies, such as RHEV KVM, are a fraction of the cost of purchasing a proprietary alternative.

Scalability. KVM’s ability to efficiently include more VMs on each physical server increases density and boosts the processing power, reducing the total cost of cloud deployment. For cloud providers, that means improved return on investment (ROI). Since KVM inherits the scalability of Linux, it supports more processors and larger memory, leading to better resource sharing and, by extension, lower costs.

Performance. KVM leverages Linux to handle high I/O rates and features fast VM provisioning. Current advances in management solutions enable KVM to be controlled alongside proprietary VMs in heterogeneous virtualization environments.

Security. KVM expands built-in Linux safeguards by incorporating the managed access control (MAC) of SELinux. KVM security includes a multi-layer set of protections, from the kernel layer through to hypervisor, VM security, hardware isolation, and networking safeguards. 

Support. The open source ecosystem provides critical innovation, primarily through developer communities and the efforts of OVA and its members, such as HP, IBM, Intel, Red Hat, and others. The OVA fosters adoption, encourages interoperability, and promotes best practices, helping to build an ecosystem of third-party solutions for KVM.

Reproduced from Global Knowledge white paper: KVM Security in the Cloud: A Choice That Matters.

Related Courses
Red Hat® Linux Kernel Internals 1 (RHD361)
Red Hat® Linux Kernel Internals 2: Device Drivers (RHD362)

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