Menu
Linux kernel goes virtual

Linux kernel goes virtual

Support for two virtualisation techniques in core

Linus Torvalds has released the 2.6.20 Linux kernel, introducing two separate implementations of virtualization, among other features.

Virtualization has become a hot topic over the past year, and players such as VMware and XenSource have been angling to get their code included directly in the Linux kernel. However, developers have been reluctant to include a significant amount of code that would tie into a single vendor's technology.

The solution that arrives with kernel 2.6.20 is an implementation of paravirtualization that can work with different hypervisors, Torvalds said. Paravirtualization allows different virtual machines to run very efficiently, but needs either modification of the guest OS or support at the hardware level.

Xen is an open source example of paravirtualization, and VMware ESX Server and Parallels Workstation also use the technique. The implementation in the new kernel supports i386 hardware.

The kernel also includes a relatively new technology called KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine), a full-virtualization system developed by Qumranet, an Israel-based startup. KVM requires the hardware-based virtualization support found in newer AMD and Intel processors.

It consists of two pieces of open-source software, the user module and the kernel module, kvm.ko, which has been included in Linux 2.6.20.

The technique of "full virtualization", used by KVM as well as VMware Workstation, VMware Server and Parallels Desktop, among others, simulates enough hardware to allow unmodified guest operating systems as guests.

Other additions include support for relocatable x86 kernels and a debugging feature called fault injection.

Torvalds said that despite the addition of virtualization and other new features, there were few basic changes to the kernel.

"I tried rather hard to make 2.6.20 largely a 'stabilization release'," he wrote to the kernel development mailing list. "Unlike a lot of kernels lately, there aren't really any big fundamental changes to some core infrastructure area, and while we always have bugs, I really am hoping that we fixed many more than we introduced."


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

In 2017, merger and acquisitions fever reached new heights in New Zealand, with a host of big name deals dominating the headlines. Reseller News recaps the most important transactions of the Kiwi channel during the past 12 months.

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017
Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

The channel in New Zealand came together to celebrate the close of 2017, as the final After Hours played out in front of a bumper Auckland crowd.

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments