Open KVM Adds Kimchi to Speed Ramp Up

The Linux Foundation, the group trying to drive the growth of Linux and collaborative development recently brought the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA) under its umbrella as a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.  The change should help KVM take better advantage of the marketing and administrative capabilities of the Linux Foundation and enable tighter affinity with the Linux community at large.

The immediate upshot of the Oct. 21 announcement was increased exposure for open KVM.  Over 150 media stories appeared, Facebook hits jumped 33%, and the OVA website saw a big surge of traffic, 82% of which from first time visitors. First up on the agenda should be tapping the expansive ecosystem of the Linux Foundation in service of Kimchi, OVA’s new easy to deploy and use administrative tool for KVM.  Mike Day, an IBM Distinguished Engineer and Chief Virtualization Architect for Open Systems Development described Kimchi as the “fastest on-ramp to using KVM.

Kimchi is about as lightweight as a management tool can get. It offers stateless installation (no server), brings a graphical and mobile interface, and comes bundled with KVM for Power but does not require HMC, IBM’s primary tool for planning, deploying, and managing IBM Power System servers. It also is based on open, standard components, including the RESTful API, and it is part of the OpenStack community.

What Kimchi does is to provide a mobile- and Windows-friendly virtualization manager for KVM. It delivers point-to-point management, thereby avoiding the need to invest in yet more management server hardware, training, or installation. Promised to be simple to use, it was designed to appeal to a VMware administrator.

So what can you actually do with Kimchi? At the moment only the basics.  You can use it to manage all KVM guests, although it does has special support for some Linux guests at this point. Also, you can use it without Linux skills.

To figure out the path going forward the OVA and Linux Foundation are really seeking community participation and feedback.  Some of the Kimchi options coming under consideration first:

  • Federation versus export to OpenStack
  • Further storage and networking configurations; how advanced does it need to get?
  • Automation and tuning – how far should it go?
  • RESTful API development and usage
  • Addition of knobs and dials or keep sparse

Today Kimchi supports most basic networking and configurations.  There is yet no VLAN or clustering with Kimchi.

Kimchi is poised to fulfill a central position in the KVM environment—able to speed adoption.  What is most needed, however, is an active ecosystem of developers who can build out this sparse but elegant open source tool. To do that, IBM will need to give some attention to Kimchi to make sure it doesn’t get overlooked or lost in the slew of its sister open source initiatives like OpenStack, Linux itself, and even Eclipse. OpenStack, it appears, will be most critical, and it is a good sign that it already is at the top of the Kimchi to-do list.

And speaking of IBM opening up development, in an announcement earlier this week IBM said it will make its IBM Watson technology available as a development platform in the cloud to enable a worldwide community of software application providers who might build a new generation of apps infused with Watson’s cognitive computing intelligence.  Watson badly needed this; until now Watson has been an impressive toy for a very small club.

The move, according to IBM, aims to spur innovation and fuel a new ecosystem of entrepreneurial software application providers – ranging from start-ups and emerging, venture capital backed businesses to established players. To make this work IBM will be launching the IBM Watson Developers Cloud, a cloud-hosted marketplace where application providers of all sizes and industries will be able to tap into resources for developing Watson-powered apps. This will include a developer toolkit, educational materials, and access to Watson’s application programming interface (API). And they should do the same with Kimchi.

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