Tag Archives: scale computing

Five Business Reasons Why Developers and Software Ecosystems Benefit from KVM

By: Peter Fuller, Vice President of Business Development and Alliances, Scale Computing

As the VP of Business Development and Alliances for Open Virtual Alliance Member Scale Computing, I work with a diverse group of top players in the software ecosystem. While many have KVM compatible products as full virtual appliances, others are building business cases to justify the minor engineering expense required to develop KVM-compatible versions of their VMware, Citrix or Hyper-V solutions.

This KVM question has isochronously emerged as a discussion point with my business development peers this year. It is not a hard apologetic to form since KVM support is: 1) adopted, 2) supported and crowd sourced, 3) independent, 4) a quickly profitable engineering exercise and 5) freely available.

Let’s take a quick look at the benefits:

(1) KVM is Adopted & Mature

KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) works in the Linux kernel as an open source, free component for Linux on x86 hardware that contains Intel VT or AMD-V extensions. With KVM, multiple unmodified Linux or Windows images can run as virtual machines on a single processor.

KVM is growing at 60% year over year in terms of new server shipments virtualized, with over 100,000 shipments and nonpaid deployments worldwide over the past 12 quarters.1 The worldwide virtual-machine software market was on track to grow to over $3.6 billion in 2012, up from $3.0 billion the year before, a 19.3% year-over-year growth.2

KVM is also the standard for OpenStack. In fact, 71% of OpenStack deployments use KVM.

The technology is also very mature. According to CloudPro, KVM held the top 7 SPECVirt benchmarks, outperforming VMware across 2, 4 and 8 socket servers. As CloudPro mentions, it is very rare that an open source solutions meets so many commercial specifications.3

(2) KVM is Supported & Crowd Sourced

Both IBM and Red Hat announced significant investments in KVM. Unlike VMware, the many results of those investments won’t be locked behind intellectual property laws. The companies are contributing much of its KVM development to the open source community.

This investment was important for Scale, not because we use Red Hat branches of KVM, but because it will undoubtedly attract publishers into the technology and legitimized it as an enterprise-class hypervisor.

The growing ecosystem of KVM supporters is proof. The OVA has over 300 members of software ad hardware vendors, and continues to add to its ranks daily. This collective pool of companies contributes code back to the community, allowing each company indirect access to each other’s open development initiatives. Hundreds of thousands of non-member Linux developers also add to the crowd-sourced technologies that companies like Scale can use. Additionally, the Linux Foundation recently announced that the OVA would become an official collaborative project.

Ecosystem developers benefit from this crowd-sourced adoption of KVM in ways they can’t leverage with commercial solutions like VMware. For starters, commercial virtualization solutions are

(3) KVM is Independent & Adaptive

The independence of KVM contributes to fecundity of its code. Hundreds of thousands of Linux developers around the world develop technologies for Linux and KVM—without restrictions associated with corporate IP protection.

While the permanency of any company is in continual state of ambiguity, corporations are far more labile than un-owned open source code. KVM will be around forever; there’s little risk supporting it.

The biggest challenges to the viability of some hypervisor providers are the open source headwinds wreaking havoc on their financial models. Specialized vendors like VMware don’t have the product diversity outside of their hypervisor that cushion companies like Microsoft and Citrix. As the hypervisor becomes a commodity, revenues are made on the management tools and licensed annually. This stress already pushed VMware to compete with its partners. Just this year, the company released a V-SAN product in direct completion to Nutanix and Simplivity.

(4) KVM is Easily Convertible & Supporting it is Profitable

I like to use a basic supply and demand argument support KVM development: while there’s an infinite supply of a vendor’s code, there will always be a finite supply of a customer’s cash.

To save that finite cash pool, roughly 70 percent of corporations use KVM as a secondary hypervisor to avoid licensing costs for non-production virtual machines. This install base represents a huge market that is quickly migrating KVM to the primary position in order to reduce recurring licensing costs.

Converting is Easy

In most cases, converting from a mainstream hypervisor to KVM is relatively simple. In fact, one of our alliance partners added KVM support to its robust backup software in just a week. The conversion from VMDK to QCOW2 (KVM) is fairly straightforward.

(5) The Hypervisor is a Commodity, Why Pay for It?

Hypervisors are a commodity. With Intel’s VT and AMD’s V chipset, KVM calls directly into the virtualization stack provided by those manufacturers at the chip level. There’s no need to pay license charges for solutions that use software to perform the virtualization tasks Intel and AMD provide in the hardware. A light kernel-based piece of code calling directly into the processor greatly increases the speed and efficiency of the virtualization experience. Additionally, since both Intel and AMD are committed to open technologies and the leverage publishers will get from these two companies is significant.

Conclusion

For ecosystem developers, the value extracted from the community translates into engineering efficiencies, faster feature development and flexibility, potentially millions of dollars in savings on engineering costs, and the ability to maintain price elasticity in a highly competitive ecosystem.

KVM has a large install base, major investors, commercial momentum and crowd-sourced development momentum. Spending a few weeks to add KVM support to existing applications will open new markets for developers while opening the door to new found capital efficiencies and faster development times.

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1IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Virtualization Tracker, March 2013

2Worldwide Virtual Machine Software 2012-2016 Forecast, IDC #235379, June 2012

3 http://www.cloudpro.co.uk/iaas/virtualization/5278/kvm-should-it-be-ignored-hypervisor-alternative/page/0/1

HC3x: Introducing Scale Computing’s all performance SAS product line

“Good news everyone!” HC3x has just been announced.  For the last few months, we have internally referred to this platform under the code name “MegaFonzie.”  Those of you familiar with Futurama probably know that Mega Fonzies are units used to determine how cool someone is (hence the picture of Professor Farnsworth) …and HC3x is off the charts!  If your response is, “Balderdash…I’ll be the judge of what’s cool” then grab your cool-o-meter and let’s walk through this new hardware together.

Reflections From HC3 Customers

It’s always good to reflect on the feedback you are being given.  So I wanted to take some time and share some of the comments that I have received about HC3 *Only names have been changed due to shyness.

“The Tired IT Commuter”

 “Ronald” is the lone IT person at his company. He’s spread across three educational sites managing 100 servers and 500 desktops.  He has to commute up to 50 miles in-between all of these sites. I could hear the tiredness in his voice and when he saw the solution that I was introducing him to, that tiredness turned into excitement. All servers, across all sites, managed by a single browser – it was the simple answer to a question he’d pondered for years.

“The Jaded CTO”

I spent time with another customer, “Tony,” who originally was quoted a monolithic virtualization solution. He is the CTO of a manufacturing company and upset because he could not justify the price for an enterprise solution when he was not an enterprise company.  His needs were different and he didn’t need everything that was being sold to him.  He searched for a reason not to purchase a solution from Scale Computing since we were not an incumbent solution. During my onsite install with him, I asked about his purchasing decision and he told me that we gave him everything he needed.  If he needed extra features, he would buy them from third-party vendors but he appreciated that he wasn’t forced into buying them.

“The Prudent Admin”

Lastly, I discussed the infrastructure needs of a long-time storage customer of mine, “Jared.”  He was burdened by the aspects of virtualization that required him to construct an environment from disparate parts. I asked him why he didn’t just add virtualization into the existing Scale Computing storage that he previously purchased. He was dumbfounded. The shift of simply expanding his existing technology had not occurred to him since it is so foreign in IT technology.  Once he learned that it was as simple as adding HC3 into his existing Scale storage, he never looked back.

The vast majority of people I talk to echo these sentiments, and as you can see, my team does not simply ship product and move on.  We are proud that we can help these customers build a solution that works well for their companies. As one IT person to another, I am glad that we can work together to build something better.

The Coolest Cloud of All

The Cloud is cool. It’s the latest thing! Everyone wants to touch it and have access to it. All the big vendors make stuff that supposedly delivers the Cloud to you.  But…what’s the Cloud? I have probably met more entrepreneurs over the past 5 years that were doing Cloud Computing, or Cloud Storage, or building a Cloud Provider, or providing Cloud Services or Apps running in the Cloud, or building infrastructure for the Cloud than in any other technology area.

Two things are usually missing when you ask about them:  who is the actual customer and does he need your cool, new Cloudy-thing? And, how will YOU make money so you can sustain your business?

Crickets. Continue reading

Virtualization Even Your Grandma Can Understand

As a follow up to my last post, Virtualization So Easy Even a Four-Year-Old Can Do It, I want to continue to focus on the simplicity that virtualization can and should be.  Yet explaining what virtualization actually is, can be a complicated task to anyone not in technology. The hypervisor splits the computers. Huh? They are virtual machines! That just sounds like bad 3D from the 90’s. There are many machines in one. That just sounds like too much information (and awkward). You as an IT professional should be able to explain to your grandma not only what you do, but virtualization as well. Let me share the best ways I’ve learned over the years for doing just that. Continue reading

Why IBM, HP, Dell, EMC, Oracle, VMware, Cisco and Others Will NEVER Give You What You Really Need

I’m going to put the Value Chain on hold for a post or two because I want to explore some other stuff with you.  I was on a trip recently and met with a number of existing and prospective Scale Computing VAR partners and potential customers.  The conversations were pretty normal for a company like ours, one that has brought to market a unique solution – our hyperconverged HC3 product.  The discussion of why Scale is here and how we are being successful in the face of major competition always comes up.

The answer:  The reason companies like ours exist is to solve problems that the big guys can’t or won’t. Continue reading

Acronis Gives you Highly Accessible Data on Scale’s Highly Available Hyperconverged Platform

We just announced a relationship with Acronis. The company is a fast-growing backup and recovery company with tens of thousands of customers around the planet. We partnered with them because they offered an advanced feature set for virtualization that complimented the snapshot and recovery features inherent in HC3.

One of the most important reasons we partnered with Acronis wasn’t just their solid technology; we like their long-term vision. The company is moving quickly to be a purveyor of data high accessibility. I’m sure you’ve heard that HA means high availability. With the Acronis and Scale Computing combination, it means both. Continue reading

Scale Computing Adds Vision Solutions to Alliance Program; Partnership Enchances Functionaility of the HC3™ Hyperconverged Platform

Today, Scale Computing has announced that Vision Solutions has joined our Alliance Program. The partnership will enhance the functionality of the HC3™ hyperconverged platform with remote failover and decreased downtime of physical to virtual migrations. Vision Solutions is the third technology partner to join Scale’s Alliance Program in the past few months. Scale continues to build and strengthen the  ecosystem of top application providers that our VARs and customers can trust for quality, value-added features that are simple to use and easy to purchase. Look for more alliance partnerships as HC3 continues to gain momentum in the virtualization market. Visit our alliances page on the website to learn more. Continue reading

Don’t Believe Them – Scale Computing’s HC3 is not a cheaper solution that is less capable

I have heard something out in the market a few times lately, something that really bothers me. What I’ve heard is a new way for our competitors to try to marginalize us with our customers. It goes something like this:  “Scale is a great solution if you don’t have much budget for virtualization. But if you do have the budget, you should go for the ‘premium solution’ from the name brand vendors.” I.e. traditional servers + SAN + storage switching + virtualization software suite. We usually hear HP, Dell, IBM or even Cisco servers along with EMC, Netapp, or other storage along with VMware. Continue reading

“Mikey likes it!” – Windows 2008 R2 VM in less than a minute

As a child of the 80’s, it’s hard not to smile thinking back on the classic Life cereal commercial “Mikey likes it!”  For those of you who don’t remember, the commercial starts with two boys leery of trying a new cereal that is supposedly good for them.  Instead, they decide to use Mikey –  a boy I assume to be their little brother – as a guinea pig.  “He won’t eat it. He hates everything.”  The boys stare in disbelief watching Mikey take a bite. And, as you can guess from the title of the commercial, Mikey likes it! I was reminded of this last week while on the road at a reseller event and thought others might enjoy sharing in the nostalgia. Continue reading