A Sydney-based IT services provider has built a public Cloud with the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) virtualisation hypervisor instead of one of the better-known commercial or open source products making it one of the first of its kind in Australia.
Evolution Systems teamed up with Red Hat to build “The Evolution Cloud” with its Enterprise Linux and Virtualization products, which use KVM, not other open source hypervisors like Xen or OpenVZ, which are both popular in the public Cloud space.
Evolution Systems has been running the Cloud since January to run its own and customers’ infrastructure. It can host Windows and Linux servers and the hardware is IBM blade servers.
Chris Banks, senior project manager at Evolution Systems, said the Cloud is based on KVM, which is mostly the vanilla open source version with a few Red Hat plug-ins.
“It’s fairly comparable to VMware. KVM doesn’t have all the enterprise features of VMware, but the next release of the hypervisor will have a lot more,” Banks said.
“The main thing missing is being able to take an active snapshot of the environment [but] it can do cloning, templating and live migration.”
Last year Red Hat dropped competing open source hypervisor Xen to focus on KVM.
Banks said he hasn’t had any problems with manageability of Red Hat’s virtualisation platform and while there are not as many third-party tools available, in terms of “doing what I want to do” he has full visibility with the server management software.
“It’s handled stress testing well and drivers on the guests install seamlessly,” he said. “A disk in one of the blades failed but disks are mirrored on the blade. No problems moving images off of it.”
Banks said there haven’t been any performance issues with Windows and Linux guests, including Exchange servers.
“Red Hat has provided pretty good support and resources for us and being a little guy wanted to supported the ‘little guy’,” he said.
Evolution Systems is now looking to develop a Web-based, self-service portal to allow its customer to provision resources as needed.
Managing director Geoff Boreland said selecting Red Hat was “about a third” cheaper than VMware so it was “pretty good” from a cost perspective.
“We can start small and add in blades at will,” Boreland said. “We have four blades and when we get to 50 per cent utilisation we will add more to keep n+1 redundancy.”
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