Novell, VMware Collaborate On Linux Virtual Machines - InformationWeek

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Novell, VMware Collaborate On Linux Virtual Machines

The software and services company has added support for VMware's Virtual Machine Interface into the SUSE Linux Kernel.

VMware is collaborating with Novell to improve Linux performance in VMware virtualized environments. Novell has added support for VMware's Virtual Machine Interface into the SUSE Linux Kernel.

VMI is a layer of communications software that aids communication between Linux running as a guest operating system (managing a single virtual machine), and the server's VMware ESX hypervisor.

Having VMI support in the Linux kernel allows it to run its virtual machine in a paravirtualized fashion; that is, it can take advantage of the virtualization shortcuts supplied by the latest chips from AMD and Intel by making use of their built in virtualization hooks. In many instances, using a paravirtualized approach will speed up virtual machine performance through more direct communication between the virtual machine and the hardware controlled by the hypervisor.

VMI doesn't require drastic changes to the Linux kernel in order to achieve paravirtualized performance. At least in theory, VMware says its interface could be used by hypervisors other than its own to speed up virtual machines running Linux.

Novell's Roger Levy, senior VP and general manager of Open Platform Solutions at Novell, said in a statement that the collaboration with VMware will help SUSE Linux users run Linux "with optimal performance in physical or virtual environments."

VMware's Parag Patel, VP of alliances, said the improved Linux virtual machine performance is available to those customers running SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 with Service Pack 2.

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