Guide to the Open Cloud: The State of Virtualization


Is virtualization still as strategically important as it was now that we are in the age of containers? According to a Red Hat survey of 900 enterprise IT administrators, systems architects, and IT managers across geographic regions and industries, the answer is a resounding yes. Virtualization adoption remains on the rise, and is integrated with many cloud deployments and platforms.

Red Hat’s survey showed that most respondents are using virtualization to drive server consolidation, increase provisioning time, and provide infrastructure for developers to build and deploy applications. According to a Red hat post: “Over the next two years, respondents indicated that they expect to increase both virtualized infrastructure and workloads by 18 percent and 20 percent, respectively. In terms of application mix, the most commonly virtualized workloads among respondents were web applications, including websites (73 percent), web application servers (70 percent) and databases (67 percent).

At the same time, virtualization does face challenges. Nearly 40 percent of respondents to Red Hat’s survey called out budgets and costs as a key challenge, likely related to the cost implications of migrating workloads to and maintaining virtualization environments. That is precisely where free and open source virtualization solutions are making an enormous difference. Open virtualization tools can be part of a broader strategy to provide developers and applications with the best possible infrastructure, integrating with containers, private clouds and public clouds.

The Linux Foundation recently announced the release of its 2016 report “Guide to the Open Cloud: Current Trends and Open Source Projects.” This third annual report provides a comprehensive look at the state of open cloud computing. You can download the report now, and one of the first things to notice is that it aggregates and analyzes research, illustrating how trends in containers, microservices, and more shape cloud computing. In fact, from IaaS to virtualization to DevOps configuration management, it provides descriptions and links to categorized projects central to today’s open cloud environment.

In this series of posts, we are calling out many of these projects, by category, providing extra insights on how the overall category is evolving. Below, you’ll find a collection of several important virtualization tools and the impact that they are having, along with links to their GitHub repositories, all gathered from the Guide to the Open Cloud:



KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a full virtualization solution for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V). It consists of a loadable kernel module, kvm.ko, that provides the core virtualization infrastructure and a processor specific module, kvm-intel.ko or kvm-amd.ko. It can run multiple virtual machines running unmodified Linux or Windows images. KVM mailing lists.


Linux Containers (LXC) are lightweight virtual machines enabled by functions within the Linux kernel, including cgroups, namespaces and security modules. Userspace tools coordinate kernel features and manipulate container images to create and manage system or application containers. LXC on GitHub.


LXD is Canonical’s container hypervisor and a new user experience for LXC. Developed in Go, it runs unmodified Linux operating systems and applications with VM-style operations. LXD on GitHub.

Xen Project

Xen Project, a Linux Foundation project, develops virtualization technologies for a number of different commercial and open source applications including server virtualization, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), desktop virtualization, security applications, embedded and hardware appliances on x86 and ARM CPU architectures, and supports a wide range of guest operating systems. Xen Project Git repositories.

Learn more about trends in open source cloud computing and see the full list of the top open source cloud computing projects. Download The Linux Foundation’s Guide to the Open Cloud report today!