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The Case for Open Source Virtualization

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Technology commentator Rick Delgado outlines the key business, technology and operational advantages of open source virtualisation software.

Virtualisation has now become a regular part of the business world. Company leaders no longer look at is as the wave of the future so much as it is one of the present day tools used for business. It’s little wonder why virtualisation technology has transformed into something so integral, especially with the way it allows businesses to save money and improve productivity. With virtualisation now considered the norm, many businesses are turning to open source virtualisation to gain even more benefits.  As every business leader is quickly learning, there is definitely a case to be made for going open source for their virtualisation needs.

Open source virtualisation software takes many of the same advantages of regular server virtualisation and adds upon it by further consolidating a company’s virtual and physical infrastructure while maintaining many of the same cost savings. On its own, virtualisation makes for more processing agility and better management of resources, and while those benefits are extended through the open source version, adopters of open source will see even more positives from the experience.

First, it’s important to understand the concept of open source software. Companies can use open source software developed for various purposes, only unlike proprietary systems, the software is usually free of charge.  Besides the cost, the software also allows users to become co-developers–they can take the existing software and build improvements upon it and iron out any of the mistakes and bugs. Modification is the name of the game, and these improvements can be shared with others who are also using the open source software. This customisability is a very attractive option for many companies. In fact, open source software saves companies around $60 billion every year.

The same applies for open source virtualisation. The process of virtualising a company’s servers can be a complicated one, but with open source virtualisation, since the costs are lowered – deployment is easier. The customisability of the software code is also a huge benefit.  Each business has different goals and methods of practice, and that means they need software that they can modify to see to their own needs. When using proprietary systems, businesses are locked in to the methods and uses of the software they purchased. That’s not the case with open source. Businesses can make any new additions and modifications to the code so that it impacts their company and servers in the best way possible.

Open source software saves companies around $60 billion every year.

Open source virtualisation also provides for a far larger degree of flexibility for a company. The options available to a business, given they have the right personnel, are almost endless as long as any changes to the code are within the realm of server virtualisation. Companies also use a variety of other important software and hardware tools, and finding a specific virtualisation software that complies with all them and all their varieties can be difficult. Luckily, open source virtualisation solves that problem by allowing companies to change and add to the code, allowing it to work with different operating systems and cloud computing services.

Businesses also have a large variety of open source virtualisation softwares and technologies to choose from when picking what they want, though some have installation fees associated with them. KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) supports Linux and Windows and gives each virtual machine its own hardware resources. VirtualBox provides full virtualisation features and even comes in open and closed source versions depending on the business’s preference. OpenVZ is very flexible even as far as open source virtualisation goes and allows for resource additions in real time without a system reboot. There are many other options, each with special features adding to the software’s already impressive modification abilities.

When using proprietary systems, businesses are locked in to the methods and uses of the software they purchased.

Open source virtualisation is just the latest tool companies are utilising to get the most out of their technical infrastructure. The benefits have been shown to give businesses added flexibility, lower costs, and greater productivity. The technology is still being adopted, but it’s only a matter of time before more companies are using open source virtualisation on a regular basis.