SmartOS brings KVM to the Solaris kernel
A team of developers from cloud provider Joyent has ported the Linux kernel hypervisor to Illumos' open source OpenSolaris kernel. The developers say that the KVM (kernel-based virtual machine) adds hardware-supported virtualisation to the SmartOS, complementing the Solaris-based kernel's virtualisation system, Zones, which allows multiple user environments to run in isolation from each other under a single kernel. The operating system also incorporates a BSD package management system and a GNU toolchain.
SmartOS with KVM is now available to download as an ISO image to download and install. According to the developers, the KVM implementation can already boot and host SmartOS, 64-bit Linux, Windows Server 2008 R2, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, QNX and even Plan 9 and BeOS-revival Haiku.
SmartOS is designed to be particularly suitable for building clouds, generating appliances and, because of Solaris features such as the performance analysis tool DTrace and the ZFS file system, should be able to offer some advantages over competing virtualisation solutions from VMware, Red Hat, Citrix and Microsoft; for example, Joyent say the presence of ZFS negates the need for a dedicated SAN. Joyent itself uses SmartOS in its cloud infrastructure.
Source for SmartOS is available on the project's github repository. SmartOS is licensed under a variety of open source licences based on its various components.
- Experiences porting KVM to SmartOS, slides from Joyent engineer Brian Cantrill's presentation