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Slim and flexible: This is how KVM (kernel-based virtualization machine) presents itself compared to other virtualization solutions. This makes it the most innovative virtualization solution currently on the market. Despite its young age, KVM has already been used in many successful projects. Since it is also a very affordable solution, every company should include it in its search for the right virtualization tool.
The biggest advantage of KVM is its full integration into the Linux kernel, enabling the kernel to directly provide scheduling capabilities, memory management and the necessary hardware drivers. This will reduce overhead to a minimum. Being integrated into the kernel also means that KVM's functionality will grow as the kernel gets new features. In this way, new technology will find its way into virtualization without delay. Not only will companies gain planning certainty, they will also benefit from extensive compatibility.
Besides using kernel modules, KVM also makes use of the emulation software QEMU. QEMU provides the actual runtime environment as well as administrative features like snapshotting and live-migration. With KVM/QEMU it is also possible to access physical devices that are connected via PCI or USB, for example. This lean design makes KVM significantly smaller than its competitors.
Installing KVM is easy; Linux users will find it intuitive to administrate. Since guest systems run as normal Linux processes, there is no need for additional command line knowledge.
On the host side, the KVM/QEMU combination will successfully cover every hypervisor requirement. Despite its open source nature, it is in no way inferior to the competition. In addition to live-migration and extensive guest configuration options, KVM also supports memory overcommitment. This is handled by KSM (Kernel Same-Page Merging) on the host system – meaning that KVM is ahead of the Microsoft solution in this respect as well.
KVM's list of supported guest systems is just as long as that of other virtualization solutions. KVM can be used for running virtualized instances of all Windows versions from 2000 to 2008. It will also run virtual Solaris and BSD instances, as well as a wide range of Linux distributions. Because of these and other features in many cases KVM will make for a better virtualization solution than Microsoft's Hyper-V.
As a long-time data center operator for a publicly held company, it-novum can help you implement your virtualization projects, integrating both host and guest systems into automated administration and deployment processes.