KVM stands for Kernel-Based Virtual Machine, and it has become the popular choice for Linux open source virtualization in the data center.  KVM is a mature technology that enables you to share real compute, memory, and I/O resources through server virtualization. These virtual resources are used by virtual machines, called VMs or guests, running on the KVM virtualized server.  It’s easy to see how KVM became so pervasive.  When customers moved to the cloud, they chose OpenStack for cloud computing, and OpenStack uses KVM for its virtualization.

Now KVM is available for Linux on Power scale-out servers, and it is called PowerKVM.  With PowerKVM, data centers can now standardize their clouds with a single open-source virtualization technology.  PowerKVM takes advantage of the Power8 processor and architecture, and allows you to run multiple instances of Linux, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Ubuntu, and SUSE Enterprise Linux Server (SLES), on a single Linux server.

PowerKVM uses the same building blocks as KVM.  QEMU, the “Quick EMUlator,” is used as the open source machine emulator and virtualizer.  QEMU hosts, manages and monitors the VMs.  Libvirt is a virtualization toolkit that supports the KVM/QEMU Linux hypervisor.  Libvirt software provides management of virtual machines, virtual networks and storage, by using a command line called virsh or a browser-based user interface called Kimchi.

Wait!  I know what you’re thinking:  “This is all starting to sound pretty complicated.  I thought virtualization was supposed to be easy!  And isn’t Kimchi a tasty traditional Korean dish?”   Well the good news here is that while PowerKVM Kimchi may not be tasty, it is an easy to use, graphical user interface for managing virtualization.  Kimchi lets you manage the physical host, see real time performance graphs on system statistics, create a common repository for Linux distribution images, make templates to deploy guests, connect to the guests, allocate network and storage resources, and perform other administration tasks.  Of course, for those who are already familiar with KVM or OpenStack, you don’t have to use Kimchi.

The many benefits and features of PowerKVM include:

  • Reduces IT Infrastructure costs
  • Optimize Linux workload consolidation at a lower cost
  • Simplify your virtualization management using open source tools
  • Leverage traditional Linux admin skills on Power Systems to administer virtualization
  • Use open source tools like OpenStack to manage virtualization
  • Avoids high cost proprietary x86 virtualization
  • Live VM migration of VMs between servers virtualized with the PowerKVM technology
  • Exploits Power8 features like Micro-Threading providing greater scheduling granularity vs x86 virtualization
  • Processor and memory sharing and over commitment enables higher VM and workload consolidation
  • Managed just like any other KVM host – OpenStack, libvirt and open Linux tools help you avoid vendor lock-in

If you would like to learn more about using PowerKVM for your Linux workloads, please contact us.