Linux Vendors Line Up for 'Para-Virtualization'

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted Aug 15, 2006


If VMware, Xen, IBM and Red Hat have their way, no one vendor will rule the Linux virtualization roost. The four vendors are collaborating on a "para-virtualization" interface for the Linux kernel that will enable multiple hypervisors. VMware, Xen, IBM, and Red Hat are collaborating on a "para-virtualization" interface compatible with multiple hypervisors.

Jack Lo, senior director of R&D at VMware, said the effort is about making an operating system more virtualization-aware. "People generally refer to that as 'para-virtualization,'" Lo told internetnews.com

Lo explained that VMware put together a virtual machine interface (VMI) this past year and has been speaking with members of the Linux community about it. The effort is fundamentally about trying to get an interface into Linux that would support multiple hypervisors.

The formal name for the effort is the "Para-virt ops" interface and is currently and led by IBM kernel developer Rusty Russell, according to Lo. An IBM spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

It is unclear as to when the para-virtualization interface will actually show up in the Linux kernel. Lo commented that it's up the kernel community to decide. He did note that VWmare is hoping to get some of the changes into the kernel before the end of this year.

But he was quick to note that it's not just VMware behind the work.

"There is no way the Linux community would have accepted something just from VMware, and we knew that it would have to be a collaborative effort," Lo said.

Though Xen competes with VMware on the actual virtualization hypervisor, the collaborative agreement isn't quite what Lo would call "co-opetition."

"I think co-opetition is a bit strong as a term," Lo said. "I think that what we're focusing on is an interface that will allow multiple hypervisors to run underneath it."

That said, the Linux virtualization market will still be competitive. "We expect that there will be multiple hypervisors out there, if you want to call that competition than sure they'll be competition," Lo said. "We believe that Linux itself can't have multiple virtualization interfaces it just doesn't make sense and is not an open approach."

This article was originally published on internetnews.

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