Benchmarks by HP show that on a particlular HP server, KVM and VMware are comparable with SPECvirt_sc2010 in performance. RedHat has pushed KVM for a long time and tuned it up pretty well. Certainly it is smooth enough for many tasks where virtual machinery would help. I used KVM (Kernel Virtual Machine) to make several of my videos using a real AMD64 quad-core machine underneath and it performed well.
KVM and other virtualization technologies may be one of the few applications where ARM will not compete well for a while but ARM can make a real machine for a similar cost to one virtual machine so a few servers are being produced with massively parallel ARM processors. For x86/amd64, KVM certainly seems to be useful and competitive against VMware and VirtualBox. I previously used VirtualBox but because I am uneasy with Oracle and I am so familiar with managing processes with Linux, KVM seems the better choice based on price, power and convenience. An overview of the features of different virtualization technologies shows KVM is quite flexible. The “status” page of the project shows “stable” and “fast”. I’ll take that.
Once again, FLOSS has made useful technology a commodity we can take off the shelf to make magic.
See the KVM website.
If you are serious about optimizing performance of KVM with RedHat see IBM’s Best Practices
For an overview of how large businesses see KVM, see Open Virtualization Alliance w/ IBM, HP, Intel, Red Hat, SUSE, BMC, Eucapyltus (2011-5-20). Here’s a snippet from that blog:
“So, why this focus on KVM? It’s all about choice and cost. KVM is an open source hypervisor that provides enterprise-class performance and scalability to run mission critical Windows and Linux workloads. Because it’s open source, KVM is a cost effective alternative. Because IBM and Red Hat stand behind it, it’s enterprise ready.” I figure if it is good enough for the big boys and easy enough for me to use, I should use it.