The attack of the (KVM virtualization platforms) clones begins

The open source virtualization platform KVM has been included in the Linux kernel since version 2.6.20, in February 2007, and slowly made its way into many popular Linux distributions, including Knoppix, Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Fedora, and very soon Novell SUSE Enterprise Linux Server (SLES).

Despite that, smaller ISVs have been shy so far to build on top of KVM and offer low cost virtual infrastructures that could rival with the only significant player in this space at the moment: Red Hat.

Things may be changing in the near future: now that Red Hat is investing in promoting its RHEV virtual infrastructure and there’s a growing awareness around KVM, new platforms may start to appear.

The first example is KaOS, a lightweight, open source KVM-based virtual machine monitor developed by Carbon Mountain.

KaOS still is in its early stage (version currently available is 0.61), and only features a command-line user interface for the most basic administration tasks, but Carbon Mountain is working on a virtual infrastructure management console called inVrastructure and has made available a SDK.

The company is betting on the idea of virtual appliances, and architected KaOS to be a platform for VAs rapid provisioning.
In a way that is similar to the concept of the Virtual Appliances Marketplace, originally launched by VMware in 2006, Carbon Mountain is offering a bunch of pre-configured Linux virtual machines that can be delivered directly on the KaOS platform. Customers can subscribe the service to access them and receive support accordingly.

The company is also working on another project, Cloud Integration Fabric, to integrate KaOS with 3rd party public clouds like Amazon EC2 and GoGrid.

Carbon Mountain may be just the first one of a series of ISVs that try to capitalize on the ubiquity of KVM and its community-driven development.