KVM Forum 2014

It’s been a couple of weeks that I’ve returned from Düsseldorf, Germany, after attending the seventh KVM Forum; an event where developers and users of the Linux virtualization technology gather to discuss the state of the hypervisor and tools around it, and brainstorm on future plans. As with the previous few years, the event was co-located with LinuxCon Europe.

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A few observations from the event, in random order:

  • Linux Foundation did a great job of hosting and planning the event.
  • This was the first time when the food was great!  There were even options for vegetarians, vegans, and kosher food.
  • The venue, Congress Centre Düsseldorf, was huge, and located perfectly along the picturesque Rhine river.
  • It was the first KVM Forum which Avi did not attend.
  • The schedule was nicely-paced, with not too many parallel talks, and plenty of opportunities for hallway discussions and meeting people.
  • Co-locating with the Linux Plumbers Conference, LinuxCon, CloudOpen, etc., conferences ensured there were a lot of people interested in Linux in general; and since almost everyone is at least a user of virt technologies, discussions with almost anyone is fruitful around how KVM/QEMU/libvirt get used, and what users expect from us.
  • All the talks were recorded on video, and are available in this youtube playlist.
  • Photos from the event are here
  • All the slides from talks are at the KVM Forum wiki page
  • The QEMU Summit was also held along with the Forum; notes from the Summit are posted on the qemu devel mail list.
  • Jeff Cody’s talk on an intro to writing and submitting patches to qemu, and working with the community, got very positive feedback.  At least two people told me it would’ve been good to have that talk a year back, when they were getting started.  Well, it’s now available on the ‘net, and archived for people just starting out!
  • The OVA (Open Virtualizaiton Alliance) session on connecting users and developers of KVM by hosting a panel of KVM users (from cloud providers / builders) had one interesting insight: everyone wants more performance from KVM networking (well, the session was focussed on NFV, so that isn’t surprising).  No matter how fast you go, you want stuff to go faster still.  No one talked of stability, reliability, manageability, etc., so I suppose they’re just happy with those aspects.
  • A discussion with Chris Wright on KVM and OpenStack brought to me a surprise: KVM “just works” on OpenStack, and KVM is not the layer where there are problems.  No matter how many features we add or how much more performance we can eke out of the hypervisor, the most user-visible changes are now going to happen in the upper layers, most specially within the OpenStack project.  Obviously, there’s a need for us to collaborate with the OpenStack teams, but for most purposes, KVM is hardly the bottleneck or blocker for taking stuff to the clouds.  (We do have a huge list of things to do, but we’re ahead of the curve — what we are planning to do is needed and anticipated, but we need a better way to expose what we already have, and the OpenStack teams are going full-throttle at it.)

I suppose these are the highlights; I may have forgotten a few things due to the intervening holiday season.

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