Why Open Source for Virtualization?
Open source virtualization solutions offers several advantages over proprietary development of virtualization solutions.
Flexibility — Virtualization solutions are generally designed to work with a particular OS and/or hardware platform and are not easily portable to other platforms. Most enterprises prefer heterogeneous environments running multiple operating systems that can interoperate, because this reduces dependency on a
single vendor’s virtualization technology. Open-source virtualization avoids vendor lock-in, which helps minimize financial risk.
Functionality– Virtualization solutions don’t have the advantage of the wealth of contributions that comes from a large and diverse development community. For example, Sun’s VirtualBox™ solution for desktop virtualization includes extensive APIs that make it easy for developers to incorporate the
technology into their own solutions.
Feedback — Having a community development model helps to ensure that the features and functions that are included in open virtualization solutions are exactly those that users need. It also helps ensure that issues with these features and functions can be identified and addressed in a timely way. Through this model, feedback from users about what they require in a product is immediate and direct, and the development community can respond to it rapidly and effectively.
Free — Virtualization solutions can be costly upfront; open-source solutions typically offer as much or more value without the high acquisition cost. A proprietary solution for server virtualization, for example, can carry licensing and other costs amounting to $3,000 a server. True, it may deliver far higher value in increased utilization and efficiency, but so will an open-source, freely available solution with as much or more functionality.