One of the features that was introduced a year ago into Ubuntu 7.04 "Feisty Fawn" was support for KVM, which is the Kernel-based Virtual Machine. The Kernel-based Virtual Machine provides full virtualization support for Linux when running on x86 hardware with either Intel's VT or AMD-V technology, which means you can run unmodified guest operating systems such as Linux or Microsoft Windows within your Linux host operating system. As we had shared in benchmarks, KVM -- even back to its infancy -- has been quite fast at virtualization when compared to Xen or kqemu. However, the KVM virtualization support found in Ubuntu hasn't been the most user-friendly. Installing and then managing these guest operating systems in Ubuntu 7.04 and Ubuntu 7.10 has required using the command-line interface and thus requiring the user to be familiar with the various QEMU options. However, in Ubuntu 8.04 this has all changed for the better now that virt-manager and libvirt are available from the main Ubuntu repository.
KVM support had premiered in Fedora 7 "Moonshine" around the same time as Ubuntu 7.04, but this virtualization support was accompanied by two new Red Hat innovations: virt-manager and libvirt. Virt-manager is the Virtual Machine Manager and is a GUI for managing virtual machines while at its foundation is libvirt, which is a virtualization API for not only interfacing with KVM but also Xen, QEMU, and OpenVZ. Virt-manager goes beyond just providing a user interface for facilitating the installation and basic management of the guest operating systems, but also provides a detailed analysis of the guest performance/resource usage and modifying the virtual system details (CPU cores, disk size, network devices, and memory capacity). In addition, there are cloning and imaging tools for enhanced virtualization management. Furthermore, virt-manager can connect to a remove virtual server backend using SSH or TLS/SSL. While libvirt is written in C, virt-manager is written in Python with Glade and GTK+. When virt-manager was released, we had provided a virtualization tour and how-to guide on Fedora 7.
While Ubuntu 8.04 final will not be available until April, virt-manager and libvirt are already in the Hardy Heron repository and is one of the features for the Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 4 release, which is due out tomorrow. This is not the first time emerging Red Hat technologies are appearing in Ubuntu, but in Ubuntu 7.10 was system-config-printer and the Fedora-spawned IcedTea project for Java support via Sun's OpenJDK.