May 18, 2011 – A new consortium called the Open Virtualization Alliance debuted today, with the aim of promoting open virtualization technologies using the kernel-based virtual machine.

Alliance members include BMC Software, Eucalyptus Systems, HP, IBM, Intel, Red Hat, Inc. and SUSE. The member companies are all part of the Linux and virtualization ecosystems.

The Alliance is a nonprofit corporation set up to advance the members’ common interest in the development, distribution, support, use, or other business interest in KVM, according to the Alliance's website. Participation is open. Membership is tiered, with governing memberships requiring higher dues than general memberships.

The Alliance plans to provide education, best practices and technical advice regarding virtualization. The group supports open standards and choice when evaluating virtualization technologies, according to the members in a KVM announcement. The Alliance is meant to ensure that businesses have an open virtualization alternative.

Some of their proposed efforts include publishing best practices on design guidance for KVM-based design patterns, blueprints and reference architectures. The consortium has resources in place to offer examples of virtualization experiences and hopes to expand the ecosystem of third party solutions around KVM.

KVM is open source software that's included as part of the Linux kernel. KVM is a full virtualization solution for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V). Using KVM, you can run multiple virtual machines running unmodified Linux or Microsoft Windows images. Recent technology advances in KVM performance, scalability and security have augmented the product to where enterprises are using it.

“BMC has designed its cloud solutions to promote interoperability and openness which would enable a broad set of choices for IT organizations,” Kia Behnia, chief technology officer, BMC Software was quoted to say.

Analyst Joe Clabby, president of Clabby Analytics, calls KVM an “evolving de facto standard” of open source virtualization. Partnering will help the Alliance members build their approach, Clabby believes.

“They’ve smartened up by partnering up to help build open source virtualization adoption,” he says. 

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