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Is Xen Mature Enough to Replace VMWare? - page 2

Pretty GUI or Mature Functionality?

  • September 10, 2009
  • By Charlie Schluting

Open source components are building blocks. Libraries, such as libvirt, allow you to use the same GUI with any virtualization technology that utilizes libvirt. KVM is much faster and better than Xen, and it is a drop-in replacement kernel module. Swapping between the two involves rebooting into another kernel, but everything else remains the same. The power and flexibility to do this are only found in Linux and open source systems, and are why many people see no need to use VMware.

There are GUIs for Linux virtualization, by the way. Red Hat has put a large amount of work into the GUI for the Conga project. Conga is more about cluster management, but a large part of that is virtual machines as a cluster resource.

A new project, oVirt from Red Hat, has also far exceeded expectations. From the GUI in oVirt, you can manage iSCSI storage, select what operating system to install, and fire off a new virtual machine. The great part is that oVirt uses many open source tools, and automatically configures them for you, such as cobbler, puppet, and openldap. In fact, oVirt is on the path to being much, much better than VMware.

In the end, people talking about Xen being less mature are not seeing the whole picture. It's open source, and as such does not include what people expect after using the VMware GUI. Xen is the hypervisor engine, not the management interface, yet people never compare VMware's hypervisor capabilities to it, they just cite the lack of integrated feel. Make sure to ask for clarification when discussing VMware vs. Xen, and you will likely discover the benefits and demonstrate them to others with such clarifications.

For those holdouts waiting for open source virtualization to be "mature" in the wholly-integrated-solution sense, oVirt is likely your answer. In general, if you require more flexibility and performance tuning abilities that involve more than simply buying new hardware, Xen and Linux are ideal.


When he's not writing for Enterprise Networking Planet or riding his motorcycle, Charlie Schluting works as the VP of Strategic Alliances at the US Division of LINBIT, the creators of DRBD. He also operates OmniTraining.net, and recently finished Network Ninja, a must-read for every network engineer.

Article courtesy of Enterprise Networking Planet

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