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Cloud Native Ecosystem / Kubernetes / Operations

The New Age of Virtualization

Kubevirt allows ops teams to run KVM virtual machines nested in containers behind the Kubernetes API, marking a shift in the landscape of virtualization. We get updates on version 1.1.
Dec 21st, 2023 8:15am by
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The idea of virtual machines — it’s a concept that has been around for a bit, you might say. But Kubernetes did not come with a virtual machine. But now it does with a new capability called Kubevirt. In some ways, it represents the new age of virtualization.

Kubevirt allows operations teams to run KVM virtual machines nested in containers and run behind the Kubernetes API. It means that the Kubernetes API now includes the concept of a virtual machine. For that app that runs on-premise and requires a VM? Now VM-based workloads can run in a cluster that sits behind the API.

It makes sense. Virtual machines stand as a staple of physical infrastructure. But why not in a cloud native environment, too?

Historically, it’s been a deeper consideration when weighing the complexity that comes with considering that some applications may easily get containerized while other technologies may not. Some people have wanted to move away from their traditional virtualized environments into the cloud. However, their applications didn’t allow it or required significant investments to get them containerized.

The new age of virtualization means that a virtual machine can run applications without concern about the underlying infrastructure. It opens up several opportunities and uses cases. Migrating legacy applications gets a lot easier. They don’t need containerization. That cuts down the cost that comes with fully containerizing those legacy applications.

Other opportunities include running VMs and Kubernetes in the same environment, cutting down on resources, using the dynamic resources that come with Kubernetes, access to GPUs, and support for ARM.

Vladik Romanovsky of Red Hat and Ryan Hallisey of Nvidia joined The New Stack’s Alex Williams at KubeCon in Chicago to discuss Kubevirt 1.1, which was released in time for KubeCon. Kubevirt 1.0 launched in July.

With 1.1, the community released features such as a memory hotplug and a vCPU hotplug.

“These are not new features to in the virtualization world,” said Romanovsky, a senior principal software engineer at Red Hat.” And the fact that we are now bringing this in this new release is pointing to, basically to the idea that KubeVirt is very stable now. We wanted to implement these features for a long time, but we couldn’t, because of all kinds of constraints. The platform wasn’t stable enough.”

Kubernetes and cloud native approaches may seem unfamiliar to some, but it should be a manageable jump, said Hallisey, a senior software engineer and technical lead at Nvidia.

“The adaptation comes when you look at the Kubernetes ecosystem and the paradigm of a cloud native environment,” Hallisey said. “There’s a bit of a learning curve and understanding those things but eventually when you do grasp them, you kind of will find that you’re in familiar territory again. The same concepts will apply. The features will now expose, just through a different way.”

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