Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Citrix Systems Inc. has released a preview of Project Kensho, its toolkit for importing and exporting groups of virtual machines (VMs) between hypervisors from different providers and clouds. As cloud computing makes its way into mainstream computing, Kensho's goal is to remove some of its barriers, particularly by creating compatibility among providers and, ultimately, cloud environments.
First announced in July, Project Kensho is based on the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) from the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), which enables independent software vendors (ISVs) and IT to bundle applications into hypervisor-neutral, portable virtual appliances. Using OVF and Project Kensho, these virtual appliances can be exported and imported to and from Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, and VMware Inc. ESX virtual environments.
As for other hypervisor vendors like Oracle and Sun Microsystems, "If they adopt Citrix's open source components and build them into their products' management stacks, they can also start to consume and produce OVFs," said Citrix's CTO Simon Crosby. "Broadly, any virtualization platform could adopt the technology that we have open-sourced for use in their world. Our agenda is to ensure compatibility across vendors and clouds."
The Project Kensho toolkit
Released Oct. 14, Project Kensho was as open source software under the Lesser General Public License (LGPL). And Citrix has worked with virtual appliance packaging vendor Raleigh, N.C.-based rPath to extend Project Kensho so that users can seamlessly install and deploy DMTF OVF packages on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
Other cloud environments may soon follow, Crosby said. "Our hope is that through open-sourcing the components, the community will be more quickly able to adapt the technology to other clouds," Crosby said.
The Project Kensho toolkit consists of two components: an OVF tool that allows administrators to import and export OVF packages, as well as a DMTF CIM (Common Information Model) interface to the XenServer application programming interface, which allows XenServer to be managed by the DMTF's WSMAN protocol.
Citrix decided to release the core components of Project Kensho and its implementation of the DMTF System Virtualization, Partitioning and Clustering (SVPC) profiles for XenServer as open source software to accelerate the adoption of OVF as an industry-standard portable VM format.
"We have also released all of the tools for creating and consuming an OVF package," Crosby said.
However, Citrix has not open sourced the virtual-to-virtual (V2V) capabilities that enable users to translate a particular vendor's OVF appliance from one kind of hypervisor to another, Crosby said.
The Project Kensho preview is available as a free download on the Citrix Developer Network site.