Linux Kernel to Add VMI

 
 
By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2007-03-26 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The next stable update to the Linux kernel, Version 2.6.21, is slated to include a new feature submitted by VMware called Virtual Machine Interface.

The next stable update to the Linux kernel, Version 2.6.21, is slated to include a new feature submitted by VMware called VMI. Virtualized operating system instances can enjoy performance and management benefits if their kernels are modified to communicate with the hypervisor under which they run. This arrangement is called paravirtualization. The initial promise of Virtual Machine Interface was that it would provide a common protocol across which multiple hypervisors could communicate with the Linux kernel instances they paravirtualize, as opposed to having different sets of hooks built into Linux for different hypervisors.
The idea is similar to the Linux Security Module framework, on which both the SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) and AppArmor rights-hardening technologies are built.
However, VMwares approach has faced some pushback among kernel developers, and VMware ended up modifying VMI to plug into a separate kernel paravirtualization interface, called paravirt_ops, which made its way into the stable Linux kernel with the last update (2.6.20). Dialed-back ambitions or no, VMI is set to enter active service soon, as VMwares forthcoming Workstation 6.0 will make use of VMI-enabled kernels, including those that drive Linux distributions such as the soon-to-ship Ubuntu 7.04.
Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
 
 
 
 
As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. Jason's coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at jbrooks@eweek.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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