Fedora and KVM

Short post to say that the support for KVM in Fedora 10 rocks! We have been in the process of removing our current VMWare Server infracstructure in favor of an free alternative for some time now.

We run Linux on 99% of our infrastructure, so three years ago, we tested vserver first. The results was not that bad but it wasn’t good enough to put our production servers on it. After that, the Xen trend give us hope. But, it has short lived after seeing all the hacks that one must do to barely run a stable OS on it. So, back to square one…

Recently, KVM is the new “cool thing” in virtualization space. It’s been out for some time but we just recently give it a go. We made our tests with Fedora 10 beta and it’s been such a pleasure to work with. Virt-manager is simple, fast and stable, Fedora ship with recent version of all the tools, the guest OS support is really good! We now have three production servers and a couple of tests machines running a stripped Fedora 10 install with the KVM tools. There is approximately 25 virtual machines running on them that replace all our old servers. The good thing is that if we need more power, we just buy a new server, put the Fedora 10 DVD in, start the installation with kickstart, reboot and everything is ready. Unboxing to production : 30 minutes!

Sure, KVM and the management tools miss some features to really be on par with VMWare Server. But, I think that in the near future we will see the gap close with the maturation of projects such as oVirt and virt-manager.


7 thoughts on “Fedora and KVM

  1. I’ve been meaning to give this a try. A have a lot of “older” servers that do ESXi and guets OK — but they don’t have VT or AMD-V enabled processors. I wonder how much worse KVM will handle them than ESXi does.

  2. I think you’ll find that current oVirt and the other improvements in virtualization courtesy of Fedora already give VMware reason to worry. But beyond that, the longer view of virtualization is going to really give the edge to free software — which means the future belongs to free software!

    I’m sure other distributions like Ubuntu and openSUSE will also soon include the various advances we’ve made in Fedora for virtualization through KVM.

  3. I agree with you that Fedora make great advance in the virtualization space, that’s why we have based our setup on Fedora for the base OS.

    I test oVirt weekly to see what’s new. Currently, we don’t have the need for a “global management” interface, the current virt-manager is good enough for us. But, I really like the oVirt project, I am currently in talk with one of my client to test it for them. I will post details as soon as I have them!

  4. Compelled to mention containers and OpenVZ… if you do a lot of Linux on Linux hosting… I’m guessing that a considerable amount of your VMs could be containers (depending on their requirements).

    I’ve been using OpenVZ for over 3 years and it servers most of my needs very well… in a much lighter-weight fashion than full machine virtualization.

    I’m hoping at some point Red Hat will notice containers… but this might not happen for a few years… until containers are completely in mainline.

    While most all of the virtualization products work well (none of them suck that I have noticed)… each seems to have a niche… and I use most all of them… for one thing or another.

    The first combination of containers and KVM is Proxmox VE. I’m sure others are coming though.

  5. I setup KVM on F10 to host my Windows XP SP2 host and thought I had a great strategy: take native NTFS disks, perform a software mirror, and present the block device (/dev/md0) to the Windows guest. All work well, but Windows would occasionally blue screen while running Video/Sound intensive apps. Thus I had to switch to VirtualBox which I must say has been very stable. The downside though was I lost the ability of both SMP and block level device support that KVM allowed. KVM is definitely going to be a winning solution, but I found it not yet stable enough. You’re mileage will of course vary.

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