Ten Years of KVM

We recently celebrated 25 years of Linux on the 25th anniversary of the famous email Linus sent to announce the start of the Linux project.  Going by the same yardstick, today marks the 10th anniversary of the KVM project — Avi Kivity first announced the project on the 19th Oct, 2006 by this posting on LKML:


The first patchset added support for hardware virtualization on Linux for the Intel CPUs.  Support for AMD CPUs followed soon:


KVM was subsequently merged in the upstream kernel on the 10th December 2006 (commit 6aa8b732ca01c3d7a54e93f4d701b8aabbe60fb7).  Linux 2.6.20, released on 4 Feb 2007 was the first kernel release to include KVM.

KVM has come a long way in these 10 years.  I’m writing a detailed post about some of the history of the KVM project — stay tuned for that.

Till then, cheers!

FOSSASIA 2016 talk: Virtualization and Containers

I did a talk earlier today at the wonderful venue of the Science Centre Singapore at FOSSASIA 2016, titled ‘Virtualization and Containers.’ Over the last few years, several “cool new” and “next big thing” technologies have been introduced to the world, and these buzzwords leave people all dazed and confused.

One of my aims for this talk was to introduce people to the concepts behind virtualization and containers, explain that these aren’t really new technologies, and why there’s so much interest in them of late.

I also think there’s a lot of misinformation spread around these topics, so this was also an attempt to set some facts straight.

The slides are here, and I will post an update with the link to the video.

Edit: video is up.

FOSDEM 2016 Talk: Live Migration of Virtual Machines From The Bottom Up

I just did a talk titled ‘Live Migration of Virtual Machines From The Bottom Up‘ at the FOSDEM conference in Brussels, Belgium.  The slides are available at this location.

The talk introduced the KVM stack (Linux, KVM, QEMU, libvirt) and live migration; introduced ways the higher layers (especially oVirt and OpenStack) use KVM and migration, and what challenges the KVM team faces in working with varying use-cases and new features added to make migration work, and work faster.

There was a video recording, I will post the link to it in a separate post.

Update: video recording available at this location.

SCaLE14x Talk: KVM Weather Report

I did a talk titled ‘KVM Weather Report‘ at the SCaLE conference in Pasadena, California yesterday.  The slides are available at this location.

The talk introduced the KVM stack (Linux, KVM, QEMU, libvirt); briefly went over some features and the communities around the projects, and discussed some of the new features added to the KVM stack in the last year.

Next up is my talk on live migration of VMs at FOSDEM in Belgium.

QEMU Maintainer Interviews for the 2.5 release

Hot on the heels of the QEMU 2.4 release, we have QEMU version 2.5 releasing today.

QEMU creates the virtual machine which guest operating systems run on top off.  QEMU also handles host-specific things, like the storage and networking on the host.

Given the wide scope of this project, there are several changes that many contributors add to each release.  To repeat the success with the 2.4 release video, I asked maintainers to record segments for the 2.5 release as well.  A few maintainers and contributors chipped in with videos, and a few updated the ChangeLog page, and added new feature pages.  Thanks to all who pitched in!

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Let’s Encrypt on OpenShift

Let’s Encrypt have lauched their public beta, and they’re now offering SSL certificates to everyone.  The process is very easy and quite easy to automate.  However, there’s a catch: these certificates expire in a few days (90 days as of now), so they have to be renewed often.  That’s where having the process be simple and automatable helps.

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30 Years of GNU and Software Freedom Day

It’s 30 years of GNU — 30 years of freedom and 30 years of owning one’s computers. I can’t imagine a life where I don’t have control over the software I run. I’m going to be eternally thankful to RMS and Linus for starting the mass movements that have not only transformed an entire industry, but also shaped my thinking and my career.

A few Red Hatters (including yours truly) have shared stories of their first brush with free software here — give it a read, it’s a good trip down the memory lane, as well as some inspiring anecdotes from people who have been involved with free software for a really long time.

Here’s wishing everyone a liberating Software Freedom Day (Sep 19th), and many more years of freedom to everyone!

QEMU Maintainers on the 2.4 Release

QEMU is the software that creates virtual hardware which guest operating systems run on top of.  All (well, almost all — see note below[*]) the hardware that a guest OS has access to is actually written to some specifications in software — i.e. no physical hardware is involved.  For the QEMU/KVM hypervisor, most of these devices are written in the QEMU source repository.  A few devices are part of the KVM code in the Linux kernel.  QEMU also handles a lot of host-specific stuff, like storage and networking for the virtual machines.

[* Exception: physical hardware devices assigned to guests.]

Many contributors to the QEMU and KVM projects meet at the annual KVM Forum conference to talk about new features, new developments, what changed since the last conference, etc.

The QEMU project released version 2.4 just a week before the 2015 edition of KVM Forum.  I thought that was a good opportunity to gather a few developers and maintainers, and get them on video where we can see them speak about the improvements they made in the 2.4 release, and what we can expect in the 2.5 release.

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