The world of virtualization is undergoing a seismic shift. Since making its public debut in 1999, VMware® has dominated the virtualization market. However, times are changing. A number of other commercial players have found strong footholds, such as Microsoft® Hyper-V® and Citrix® XenApp®. More importantly, the open source community has emerged in recent years with a virtualization solution for Linux® on x86 hardware—Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM Virtualization)—that is also making strong inroads in the market.
KVM is different from the other hypervisors because it is an integral part of the Linux operating environment, consisting of a loadable kernel module. That means KVM can take advantage of core features already hardened within Linux, such as a memory manager, process scheduler, I/O stack, device drivers, and security. By contrast, VMware and Xen are external hypervisors that must bolt on these capabilities, resulting in added complexity.
In short, the virtualization market is being reshaped—and KVM is playing a key role in that process.