Recently, Brian and I spent some time in Sunnyvale, Calif. working with Qumranet testing their Solid ICE VDI solution. Solid ICE uses an open-source hypervisor called KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) to host Windows XP VM's. Qumranet is the company that develops KVM and makes it available for free, while Solid ICE is their commercial product that uses KVM. During our tests, we learned that KVM is a very capable hypervisor and should probably be considered among the ranks of the other popular hypervisors out there. You'll see more on this and our test results in the near future.
On Tuesday, Microsoft announced an expanded support policy augmented by a new virtualization software validation program called the "Server Virtualization Validation Program." The program is open to software vendors who can validate that their software can run Windows Server 2008 and other versions of Windows Server. Currently Cisco, Citrix, Novell, Sun, Virtual Iron, and VMware are members of this program.
You'll notice that Qumranet is not on that list, and I think that's hurting them from a credibility standpoint. An endorsement at that level would surely legitimize the product and help them gain the credibility that they need. It's essentially a Who's Who of the virtualization world, so being on that list should be of the utmost importance for any company looking to make a splash in the virtualization market.
That said, KVM already has quite a bit going for it. In 2006, it was deemed solid enough to be included in the mainline Linux kernel as of version 2.6.20. That alone is a pretty solid endorsement.
Lately, the main linux distributions have been duking it out over which hypervisor to use for their platform. Last year, Red Hat chose KVM to be the hypervisor in the hobbyist version of their OS - Fedora. At the time, Red Hat CEO Brian Stevens said of Qumranet CTO Moshe Bar's technical approach to developing KVM, "He absolutely nailed it." This year, Red Hat also announced that Red Hat Enterprise Linux, their flagship product, will switch from a Xen-based hypervisor to a KVM-based solution that, combined with oVirt, would provide another alternative to VMware's free ESXi platform.
Clearly there is some major interest and confidence in KVM, but as of right now it's mostly coming from the open source/Linux gang. I think in order for KVM (and Solid ICE) to gain legitimacy, they need to be part of the SVVP program that Microsoft has put in place. As companies look to virtualized environments for the Windows servers and workstations, they're surely going to stick to the companies on that list.
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