8.26.2010

A breakthrough in live migration of data for virtual machines now available to the cloud community

Guest post by Dr. Yaron Wolfsthal, Senior Manager of System Technologies and Services, IBM Research - Haifa.

In early 2008, the IBM Haifa Research Lab embarked on a three-year European Union sponsored framework program called RESERVOIR. The aim of this unique research initiative between IBM, the EU and twelve other European partners, has been to develop technologies around open standards to create new, scalable, flexible and dependable frameworks to significantly improve the delivery of services in cloud computing models.

To this end, RESERVOIR has released this week a significant breakthrough around live migration of data for virtual machines. For the first time, new open source technology developed by IBM becomes widely available to the cloud community, making it possible to move virtual machines across environments that do not have shared storage networks.

We view this as a great example of the power of cross-industry research and collaboration. This new technology furthers our collective agenda in gaining greater insight around creating and configuring workloads, and helping to realize the RESERVOIR vision of “resources and service virtualization without barriers”.

We at IBM Research view this as a huge leap forward because the new open source code enables sharing across domains where shared networked storage and hardware components are not practical.

The notion of live migration between hosts that do not share storage is not only very exciting – but a major step in achieving cloud computing’s vision of efficiently supplying services and resources across disparate domains.

The beauty of this new technology, developed by IBM researchers in Haifa, is two-fold:

  • by removing the requirement for shared storage, the creation of cloud computing infrastructures is greatly simplified; 
  • the overall cost is reduced by enabling the use of less expensive direct access storage solutions. 

Today’s news underscores the important research RESERVOIR has been contributing to the industry. Computing centers, using this new technology, will be able to optimize resources and keep costs competitive.

Since RESERVOIR’s launch in 2008, the consortium has been focusing its efforts around contributing key enabling technology to open source projects and cloud computing environments. The group will continue to investigate new capabilities for the deployment of commercial service scenarios that cannot currently be supported. These capabilities will be made possible by developing new virtualization techniques such as those exhibited by the newly released open source code.

RESERVOIR (www. reservoir-fp7.eu) is now in its third and final year.

3 comments:

  1. What exactly is this under the covers? Is this the live migration (including block migration) that was added to qemu/kvm back in January?

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  2. Great feature, but does this mean we can have furtive Virtual Machines on the cloud ? If that's the case, IT Security will face a new challenge with new kind of mobile worm appliances.

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  3. Yes, virtualization (and cloud computing in general) opens up new capabilities, which in turn give rise to risks, and taming these is a challenge. One of them is indeed IT Security. Observably, with the emergence of cloud computing as a mainstream computing paradigm, a lot of research and resources in being invested into new security technologies to ensure that computing on the cloud will be as "safe" as possible. For some reading, refer e.g., to http://www-03.ibm.com/security/cloud-security.html

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