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5 Reasons to Engage the Open Virtualization Alliance

By Kenneth Hess (Send Email)
Posted May 23, 2011


What do HP, IBM, Red Hat, and Intel have in common? The Open Virtualization Alliance. Announced last week, the Open Virtualization Alliance formed out of the need for a collective effort to encourage and assist in the adoption of open virtualization technologies. The Alliance is a not-for-profit organization set up to advance the shared goals of its members. Participation in the Alliance is open. Here are five reasons to engage the Open Virtualization Alliance for virtualization consulting, cloud computing and saving money.

1. KVM -- The Kernel-Based Virtual Machine Virtualization Solution

Connect to this list of heavy hitters in your push toward KVM-based virtualization on any scale.

There's much to love about KVM: It's part of the Linux kernel, it offers awesome performance, and it delivers full virtualization (think VMware-type virtualization), excellent scalability and a high level of security. Plus, Red Hat owns it. KVM's attributes has enabled it to become the newest enterprise virtualization market contender.

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) acquired KVM as part of its 2008 purchase of Qumranet, the Israeli company that developed KVM and its associated SPICE protocol.

2. The Governing Members

The list of governing members: HP, IBM, Intel and Red Hat are major contributors to open source projects. There's still room for one more governing member according to the bylaws, which state, "The Alliance shall have no more than five (5) Governing Members." If you hurry, you can join the four others in the exclusive clan. It's a pretty exclusive club, so if you're wanting to become the fifth governing member, you'd better have your checkbook handy and get ready to write a few zeros.

Although the alliance hasn't specified any notions of setting forth virtualization standards, the community will call for them to do so. The group decided to focus more on education, best practices, technical advice, KVM development and promoting open virtualization technology.

3. Open Source

The two charter members, IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Red Hat, are huge open source software proponents. Red Hat is the most successful Linux and open source software company in the world, and IBM has released dozens of its software patents to the open source community. IBM, if you recall, was one of the primary defendants in the SCO vs. Everybody case.

As for HP (NYSE: HPQ)and open source, HP has initiated more than 100 open source projects and has contributed a significant amount of intellectual property to the open source community. Without HP's open source printer driver contributions, those who use Linux would have extremely limited print capability and precious few printers from which to choose.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) contributes to dozens of open source projects including MeeGo, Xen, KVM, OpenSolaris, Eclipse, Java and GCC.

4. The Members

BMC Software, Eucalyptus Systems, and SUSE Linux make up the current list of regular Open Virtualization Alliance members. Although the list of current members, including governing members, might seem like strange bedfellows, each has its own stake in virtualization, cloud computing and open source software.

BMC (Remedy, Patrol, MainView, and Control-M developer) might seem an unlikely candidate for membership in a virtualization group, but BMC's tools are ripe for the picking in virtual infrastructures. BMC has supported the mainframe business, where virtualization began, and it has leveraged that knowledge into cloud computing management, cloud life cycle management and data center automation.

Eucalyptus Systems develops open source cloud tools that are Amazon cloud compatible. Its presence in the group means KVM adopters and Eucalyptus adopters will enjoy the best possible scenario for developing private clouds, using the public cloud, and developing cloud-oriented software and services. If its inclusion in the Open Virtualization Alliance weren't voluntary, it might have been mandatory.

The final member of the Alliance is SUSE Linux, now part of Attachmate's suite of product offerings. SUSE Enterprise Linux includes both Xen and KVM hypervisor support, plus it's optimized to work with all other hypervisors on the market.

5. High-Cost Alternative

The Open Virtualization Alliance's primary focus is KVM and assisting companies in their adoption of virtualization as a low-cost alternative to other commercial technologies. The Alliance states that, "Companies that have deployed KVM-based solutions saved up to 80% over deploying similar configurations based on proprietary solutions."

Ken Hess is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of open source topics including Linux, databases, and virtualization. He is also the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, which was published in October 2009. You may reach him through his web site at http://www.kenhess.com.

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