Konrad and I have been representing Xen at KVM Forum and LinuxCon 2011 last week. First of all I want to thanks Alexander Graf, Anthony Liguori and all the other members of the KVM community for the warm welcome and fruitful collaboration on many hot topics about virtualization. KVM and Xen have Linux and Qemu in common and share many problems that we can help each other solve. We had very interesting discussions regarding VFIO, USB redirection over the network, AHCI emulation, SPICE and many other subjects.
Then LinuxCon came along with many attendees and interesting presentations on the newest challenges in storage, network, ARM ports and so on. I particularly liked What to Expect From Linux Storage by James Bottomley and Optimizing Performance of Persistent Data Storage in KVM-based Clouds by Khoa Huynh. One thing that I noticed is that people really understand now that Xen is an integral part of the Linux ecosystem. Thanks to Linux 3.0 containing all the Xen pieces needed to run Dom0, everybody knows that we are first class citizens in the Linux world.
Somebody asked a question to Linus Torvalds about the supposed war the is going on between Xen and KVM, that lead to the famous quote “virtualization is evil“. The truth is that the is no war, I don’t know why people think that there is one. Xen and KVM might be competitors, but are different projects, with different architectures and constraints, both Open Source and both GPLv2, that have many goals and components in common. Competing and collaborating at the same time is in the very nature of Open Source and continuously happens at very different levels, between Gnome and KDE, among Linux distributions, among hardware vendors, and so on. There is really nothing strange or new going on.
The good news for the Xen project is that even though Linus dislikes virtualization technologies (they are evil after all :-)), he stated that he is pleased with the way Xen is run nowadays.
Technology discussions aside, Vancouver is a really beautiful city and the LinuxCon Gala “Roaring 20’s” was one of the best events I have ever attended. I recommend to checkout the pictures on the Linux Foundation website as soon as they are available