Q

How will KVM and the Linux kernel affect Linux users?

KVM and the Linux kernel will affect Linux users. Learn how from Bernard Golden in this expert response.

Why do you think KVM "leapfrogged" Xen to get into the Linux kernel and how will this affect Linux users?

I don't necessarily have any great insight as to the decision process of the maintainers of the section of the

kernel that KVM resides within; however, I would say that it is relatively self-contained and can exist within the kernel without affecting oher areas of the kernel. In other words, you can run KVM in an otherwise unmodified kernel and using it is a run-time decision. Xen requires kernel modifications that are Xen-specific. This has been handled in the past by creating Xen versions of the kernel that are then run. However, that's less desireable, since you have to have a vanilla version of the kernel and and Xen-capable version.

This situation is further complicated by the fact that VMware has similar, though not identical, requirements. Therefore, there has been a concerted effort to come up with a method to allow these virtualization extensions to be included in a standard kernel and have them be run-time options and have that standard kernel be able to choose which virtualization solution is used at run-time. That effort, called libvirt, is progressing well, but I believe it will need to be in place before Xen is included in the kernel.

This was first published in January 2007

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