The Greatest Linux Innovations Of 2007

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 11 December 2007. Page 2 of 5. 5 Comments

Virtualization In The Linux Kernel

This year we have seen the release of the Linux 2.6.20, 2.6.21, 2.6.22, and 2.6.23 kernels (as well as Linux 2.6.24 RC kernels). The Linux kernel this year has seen the integration of many new features and drivers, from the tickless option to the SLUB allocator, new wireless and Firewire stacks, and the CFS process scheduler. However, one area in particular that has evolved quite well between last year and now is the virtualization support in the Linux kernel.

The Linux 2.6.20 kernel had integrated KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) support, which offers great virtualization opportunities for those using Intel or AMD processors that support VT or SVM/AMD-V technologies, respectively. KVM virtualization supports both Linux and Windows guest installations and now supports SMP guests.

With the KVM virtualization support going mainline in the Linux kernel, these new virtualization capabilities have been present in many Linux distributions going back to earlier this year. The Red Hat / Fedora developers have also integrated KVM support within the intuitive virt-manager application.

Not all of the virtualization activity this year has been limited to KVM, but VMWare's VMI had entered the Linux kernel as well as Xen guest support using the new paravirt_ops interface. In addition, the simple LGuest Hypervisor made it into the Linux 2.6.23 kernel. Also enthralling the Linux virtualization experience this year was the QEMU accelerator going open-source under the GNU GPL, and the release of QEMU 0.9.0.

Not all Linux users use virtualization, nor do most view it as sexy as Compiz Fusion, but this year it's come along way for those looking to virtualize a guest operating system for server or desktop needs.

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