Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Linux is a bare metal Hypervisor!

Kevin Lawton, a friend and one of the pioneers on x86 Virtualization, has finally launched his blog and he starts elegantly with:

here's been a lot of talk about bare-metal hypervisors in the virtualization realm. All academic arguments aside, the reality is that Linux + KVM is a bare-metal hypervisor. You can create a small Linux+KVM image, embed it in a computer like firmware, and add all the same end-to-end attestation that you can with any other software stack. The fact that KVM is a kernel module doesn't change much other than how someone might draw boxes in a powerpoint presentation.

Most of the proponents of Xen based virtualization talk ad nauseum about the attack surface size of a bare-metal hypervisor. Well, then what do you about the monumentally big efforts of creating drivers for all the varied hardware out there, especially on the endpoint? Why you take Linux and ram it into Xen as a control OS. What about the OS features which Linux has grown 17 years to do? Unfortunately, you need to train Xen to handle those -- things like the NUMA model, scheduling, memory management, power management, etc. These are no small feats on notebooks, for example, where hardware variability is high and power management features are critical.

And if you want to get a handle on how fast the feature velocity of Linux is to see what Xen is up against, check out Greg Kroah-Hartman's talk. Greg also comments on KVM, at 40:53 and 45:08.

Kevin's fresh new blog is here!

Welcome to Blogosphere, Kevin!

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