Xen vs. KVM and KVM migration guide

This Xen vs. KVM and KVM migration guide offers solutions providers information on both sides of the Xen vs. KVM debate and the best KVM migration strategies for RHEL 5.4.

This Xen vs. KVM and KVM migration guide examines both sides of the Xen vs. KVM argument. Solutions providers will

also find out which factors, such as market dominance, come into play when helping customers that are considering a Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) migration. If your customer has been using Xen with Linux for years and isn't sure what to do now that Red Hat Enterprise Linxu (RHEL) 5.4 includes KVM, you can use this guide to offer them the best advice.

Read the steps that need to be taken during Xen-to-KVM migration and the learn about what factors your customers need to take into consideration throughout this transition. These tips also have information on the best practices for configuring and preparing RHEL 5.4 KVM.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Xen vs. KVM
Xen-to-KVM migration
Configuring RHEL 5.4 and creating KVM virtual machines
More Xen vs. KVM and KVM migration resources

Xen vs. KVM
KVM is the up-and-coming hypervisor for RHEL 5.4 that has customers contemplating migration from Xen. How does each hypervisor fare in the Xen vs. KVM war? Customers may seek the simplicity of KVM or the maturity of Xen, depending on their virtualization needs. This section helps solutions providers gauge the hypervisor market to find out whether customers are veering toward KVM. Use these tips to examine the pros and cons of each offering, including how they compare structurally and their differing features and capabilities.

Xen vs. KVM Linux virtualization hypervisors
KVM and Xen are both free, open source hypervisors, but each offers very different features for your customers. Use this Xen vs. KVM face-off to learn the pros and cons of each hypervisor. One expert outlines six reasons to choose Xen, including more variety of resources and platform support. The argument for KVM is centered on the fact that Xen is installed beneath the Linux kernel while KVM is part of the Linux kernel. The best choice depends on your customers' virtualization needs and requirements. Find out which hypervisor has the most benefits now and in the future.

Xen vs. KVM: Verdict still out on dueling hypervisors
Xen has been around for much longer than KVM, but how close is KVM to catching up? It may be a matter of opinion, but your customers' selection of Xen vs. KVM will depend on each hypervisor's market share and technological capabilities. Find out what Red Hat's switch to KVM means for solutions providers, and learn about the company's future plans for Xen in RHEL.

Linux virtualization trends: Xen vs. KVM vendors in the corporate market
As KVM gains more support, solutions providers will find it useful to learn about recent developments for Red Hat's lightweight hypervisor. Integrating XenServer updates into the Linux kernel is very complex, and KVM's simple structure can be much more appealing to those who manage patches in enterprise Linux servers. Read about new developments in the Xen vs. KVM battle, how KVM fits into RHEL 5.4 and how Red Hat's purchase of Qumranet has changed the future of Linux virtualization. According to this expert, there are now four major players in the virtualization market: KVM, Citrix's XenServer, VMware's vSphere and Microsoft's Hyper-V.

Xen-to-KVM migration
If your customers have made the decision to upgrade to RHEL 5.4 and migrate to the KVM hypervisor, architectural advantages have probably played a major part. Read through this section to get information on Xen-to-KVM migration strategies and considerations. Although there are no specific tools for migrating from Xen to KVM, you'll learn how to use command-line utilities to facilitate the migration process. You'll also find information on how KVM stacks up against other open source virtualization software and how the shift toward KVM affects solutions providers.

How will KVM virtualization affect RHEL Xen users?
Now that RHEL 5.4 uses KVM, solutions providers need to know how a Xen-to-KVM migration will affect their customers. There are major differences between the two hypervisors that your customers should keep in mind, notably that Xen is a type 1 hypervisor and KVM is a type 2. Find out the key aspects to consider during Xen-to-KVM migration, including the management infrastructure and the guest operating systems (OSes) that run on the hypervisor.

Six steps for migrating Xen virtual machines to KVM
There are no tools that directly convert VMs from Xen to KVM, but users can follow the steps in this tip. From installing the GRUB boot loader to copying the old Xen image to the new KVM image, these six steps for a Xen-to-KVM migration use command-line utilities to carry out the process. This tip also includes the commands you can use to ensure you completed the steps properly.

Red Hat: Open source virtualization software shifting from Xen to KVM
The shift from Xen to KVM is the next trend in the open source virtualization software market, according to Red Hat. This podcast explains how this change affects Red Hat's position among its competitors. Listen to this podcast to find out what KVM's architectural advantages are, how the entire Linux ecosystem can benefit from KVM and what a Xen-to-KVM migration entails.

Configuring RHEL 5.4 and creating KVM virtual machines
Now that RHEL 5.4 comes with the KVM hypervisor, you will need to assist customers with the RHEL 5.4 configuration process, including testing customers' hardware to ensure it can support virtualization. After verifying that they have the proper hardware and that the KVM framework is set up, you should concentrate next on creating KVM virtual machines. Use these tips to offer your customers a smooth-running KVM infrastructure on RHEL 5.4.

How to configure Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 as a KVM host 
When configuring Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 as a KVM host, you must ensure that your customers have the correct hardware -- particularly a CPU that supports virtualization. The CPU must also support the Vanderpool feature and, depending on how you plan to install RHEL 5.4, you need to verify that there is enough RAM available. Use this tip to learn how to properly install the KVM framework.

Creating KVM virtual machines in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4
Once you have configured and set up RHEL 5.4 as a KVM host, the next step is to learn how to create KVM virtual machines in RHEL 5.4. Using the virt-manager interface, name your VM, choose your OS and configure the VM's storage method. Knowing how KVM works and being familiar with the full virtualization and paravirtualization methods will help solutions providers with the KVM virtual machine creation process.

More Xen vs. KVM and KVM migration resources:

Xen vs. KVM vs. VMware: Is it a Hypervisor war?

KVM migration

New virtualization in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4

KVM in RHEL 5.4 -- Red Hat leaps out of the virtual shadows

This was first published in February 2010

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