Top Open-Source Virtualization Software

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Virtualization has reformed IT and computing!

It is a key in today’s modern IT infrastructures, i.e., from bare metal virtualization to VMs and containers. The virtual workloads are at the center of several different IT areas.

Virtualization is nothing but the act of creating a virtual machine (VM) for every system and layer, whether it is an operating system as a whole, storage, computer network resources, or hardware. In a more straightforward form, it is one computer within another. This means it allows the use of multiple operating systems on a single machine or computer. Thus, making work more straightforward. For IT developers or professionals, it seems to be a promising alternative to use virtualization software.

What is virtualization?

Virtualization is the procedure of creating computer-generated versions of operating systems, computer network resources, hardware platforms, or storage devices. Thus, a virtual environment is created and is extracted from the core hardware technology. Virtualization is also responsible for generating numerous operating systems on a similar computer. Thus, it is termed VM (virtual machine).

These days almost every enterprise is known to use an open-source software. Open source virtualization is key to innovation at the required pace.

Top five open-source virtualization software

1. VirtualBox – Oracle VM VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and Intel64/AMD64 open source solution that runs on Windows hosts, Linux, Solaris, and Macintosh. This virtualization product is exclusively used for both homes as well as in organizations. Whether it is a data center deployment, small embedded, cloud environments, or desktop system, the software can run on any environment without any glitches.

Thus, it endorses live VMs transportation between hosts and the cloud.

The VirtualBox software can run without hardware virtualization. Thus, it can run with no AMD-V or VT-X technology. Moreover, it is the only software freely available as open-source software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2.

2. Proxmox – This software is an outstanding open-source server-virtualization management solution that is responsible for running VMs and virtual appliances. With the support of KVM and OpenVZ technologies, Proxmox can operate the virtual private server technology that presents several isolated server environments in just one physical server.

The software is known to offer virtualization management platform Proxmox Mail Gateway and Proxmox VE, antivirus, and antispam solution for mail server fortification. The software installation process is easy. This Debian-based solution supports modern AMD and Intel chipset, thus offering an adaptable storage system.

3. Xen Project – It is an open-source virtualization project that is available for original/modified guests on Windows or Linux. This software is a superb open source for paravirtualization and is often considered the default standard in Linux hypervisors.

The Xen Project is focused on enhancing virtualization in various commercial and open source applications such as aviation/automotive, server virtualization, embedded and hardware appliances, infrastructure-as-a-services (IAAS), security applications, and desktop virtualization.

This software is customizable and extremely versatile due to its advanced distinctive architecture bringing the power of virtualization all over. The Xen Project software is the number one option for the most considerable hyperscale clouds in the market, such as IBM SoftLayer, Amazon Web Services, Rackspace Public Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud, and Oracle Cloud.

The software is the safest and dependable hypervisor to use for enhanced security features.

4. Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) – It is a virtualization module in the Linux kernel that lets the kernel to operate as a hypervisor. It is an excellent solution for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (AMD-V and Intel VT). Using this software, one can run multiple VMs running unmodified Linux or Windows images.

The kernel constituent of KVM is contained in mainline Linux, as of 2.6.20. In contrast, the user space part of KVM is contained in mainline QEMU, as of 1.3.

KVM features include Virtual CPU with hot add capability, limiting disk I/O requests from virtual to host machine and automatic NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) balancing. Also, it maintains a decent level of integration with the OS. This open-source virtualization platform is anticipated to grow at a rapid pace in the coming years. For instance, the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) is based on the same and makes boundaries for running the virtualization platform.

5. Open Virtual datacenter (oVirt) – It is a free, open-source virtualization solution for your entire organization. It is specially designed to manage the whole organization’s infrastructure. The software uses a reliable KVM hypervisor and is developed upon various other community projects such as Ansible, libvirt, PatternFly, and Gluster.

Red Hat discovers this solution as a community project. This software runs on Linux – Fedora, and CentOS. It works best with GlusterFS and supports other storage backends such as POSIX-compliant FS, NFS, FC, and SCSI. The oVirt has two essential features – hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) and virtualization disaster recovery.

After reading this, you might have a question. What is a hypervisor?

So, let’s take a look –

Hypervisor performs as a regulating system. It is a software layer that allows one to work on several virtual machines on a single hardware unit. There are two important types of hypervisors:

  • Type 1 hypervisor – It runs on the host hardware directly and is also termed as a bare-metal hypervisor.
  • Type 2 hypervisor – It runs on a software that is an operating system.

Enterprises have the liberty to choose any one of the above depending upon their infrastructure.

For example, in 2019, Intel revealed a new version of Cloud Hypervisor, an Open Source virtual machine monitor (VMM) that runs on KVM. This novel release involves assistance for the vhost-user-blk backend.

Nowadays, open-source virtualization is gaining more attention amongst enterprises as it offers various benefits. Let’s take a look at some:

  • Open source virtualization eases scalability.
  • It assures lower overall IT costs.
  • Open source virtualization software such as OpenStack is a free access model. Thus, open-source developers can help to advance the software and its features.
  • To manage enterprise data, it is essential to avoid vendor lock-in.
  • Varied open-source virtualization platforms streamline your integrations.
  • It offers improved ability and flexibility to experiment with novel integrations.

Summing it up…

Open source virtualization software plays an important role in the expansion of hardware resources. It also saves a lot of bucks as one can use several virtual servers on a single computer.

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