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Open Virtualization Alliance Expands

By Sean Kerner (Send Email)
Posted September 19, 2011


The Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA) got its start in May as an effort to grow KVM virtualization adoption. In the short time since, OVA has grown to more than 200 members, as it aims to provide an open source alternative to VMware for virtualization.

OVA launched with founding members HP, IBM, Intel, Red Hat, SUSE, BMC and Eucalyptus Systems. The effort added another 65 members in June, and it is now officially announcing another 134 new members. Among the new members joining the OVA are Canonical, Hitachi, Sourcefire, Splunk and Zenoss.

"Most of the new members reached out to us to join the OVA, having experienced demand from customers for an open virtualization alternative," Scott Crenshaw, VP & GM, Cloud Business Unit at Red Hat and OVA Board Member told InternetNews.com. "Several of the Alliance's members have provided staff to assist with the on-boarding process."

There are only a few criteria that member companies must meet to become part of the OVA.

"First and foremost, a commitment to invest in and support KVM as the open alternative for virtualization," Crenshaw said.

He added that members also work to help increase awareness of KVM and KVM-based solutions. Additionally, members collaborate to help foster the expansion of the ecosystem of compatible KVM solutions. Lastly, Crenshaw explained that members of the OVA work together to encourage interoperability.

The OVA as an organization is now in the process of releasing a series of reference architectures, solution guides and benchmarks on KVM usage. OVA itself is not a technical development or standards type of organization.

"KVM has a very active and robust open source community which drives the technology development," Crenshaw said. "OVA is a compliment to, but not a substitute for, the open source community development."

While OVA is all about promoting KVM as an alternative to VMware, many members including Red Hat, also support solutions that run on VMware.

"For example, Red Hat supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux, running on top of VMware virtualization," Crenshaw said. "We think that by providing choice and interoperability customers win. That's what the OVA is all about."

While the OVA has the word 'open' in its name, the organization is not necessarily open to all types of open source hypervisors. OVA does not support the open source Xen hypervisor, which is now also part of the Linux kernel.

Moving forward, Crenshaw said that the OVA is planning to deliver a great deal of educational and technical content, showcasing real-world examples of organizations that have benefited from open virtualization.

"Our biggest challenge is satisfying the huge demand from organizations wanting the information OVA and its members are developing," Crenshaw said.

Crenshaw added that handling the stream of new membership applications has been a challenge as the OVA wasn't initially staffed to handle the demand that came in.

"The market wants an alternative to proprietary virtualization," Crenshaw said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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