OpenShift Virtualization

IT organizations need help to address the issue of managing different workload streams in a heterogeneous environment. This can include some applications running in virtualization environments while new systems are being developed using container technology.

Since both sets of workloads have required skill sets, processes, and specific management tools, it becomes tedious for IT operations and developers to keep up with the pace. This is where OpenShift Virtualization comes into play. Furthermore, the primary aim of OpenShift Virtualization is to cultivate a unified way to coexist virtual machine-based and container workloads on a common platform with the same set of processes and tools.

This blog will discuss what OpenShift Virtualization means and how it can revolutionize the server virtualization market.

Overview of OpenShift Virtualization (OSV)

OpenShift Virtualization is a tool that lets you manage virtual machines and containers in one platform. It helps make your IT infrastructure more efficient and flexible, saves money, and scales your applications faster. It’s based on the “Kubevirt” Open Source project, an add-on for Kubernetes that lets you manage virtual machines. This makes Kubernetes a platform for both virtual machines and container-based workloads.

Furthermore, many organizations have invested heavily in virtual machines. These are still essential for new and existing container-based applications. While application development is moving towards using containers and serverless systems, OSV provides a way to manage virtual machines and containers in one platform.

How Does OpenShift Virtualization Work?

OpenShift Virtualization is a technology that enables you to run virtual machines (VMs) within the OpenShift Container Platform environment. This technology provides a way to combine the benefits of both containers and virtualization, allowing you to manage your applications and workloads more efficiently.

OpenShift Virtualization works by creating a new resource type called a VirtualMachine. This resource type allows you to define the VM’s properties. This includes the CPU and memory required, its storage, and the operating system it should run. After creating a VirtualMachine, launch it via kubectl or OpenShift web console like any other Kubernetes resource.

Launching a VirtualMachine creates a new Kubernetes Pod, a deployment unit for containerized apps. The Pod has a special container called virt-launcher that starts the VM and connects it to the network. The virt-launcher container runs in a privileged container with access to the host system’s resources.

OSV also includes a “Live Migration” feature. This allows you to move a running VM from one node to another without disrupting the application inside the VM. This feature uses a combination of technologies, including the QEMU/KVM virtualization platform, the libvirt virtualization library, and the Kubernetes control plane, to move the VM’s state from one host to another seamlessly.

Why is OpenShift Virtualization Important in the server virtualization market?

Server virtualization is not new to the tech industry. It involves restructuring a single server into several small, independent virtual servers. OpenShift Virtualization is a form of server virtualization, and there are numerous ways it can help elevate the server virtualization market. OSV’s efficient and simple virtual machine management significantly benefits the server virtualization market. This ability allows IT organizations to improve their performance and reduce costs. The following gives more detailed information on how vital OSV is to the server virtualization market.

Easy Management and Deployment

OpenShift Virtualization allows IT infrastructure managers to simplify workload management. It provides a single interface to manage containers and virtual machines. You no longer need separate tools and management interfaces for each workload type. Doing this will significantly reduce the complexity of managing virtualized environments. This means you can manage all workloads from a single console, reducing the need for extensive IT staff and infrastructure. OSV lets you focus on your business functions, not IT infrastructure.

You can use OSV flexibly and scalably to manage virtual machines. The IT staff can distribute resources to virtual machines on a dynamic basis, based on the application needs, which ensures efficient utilization and cost-effectiveness. This approach makes it suitable for deploying Cloud Native applications that need to run quickly, allowing virtual machines to be rapidly and easily scaled. OSV includes advanced management features, such as automated lifecycle management, monitoring, and logging. These features help to enhance VM management, reducing downtime and improving performance.

Improved Resource Utilization

OpenShift Virtualization provides organizations with a means of optimizing resource use. It does this by leveraging the benefits of containers and VMs. With containers, you can quickly deploy and scale applications. Conversely, VMs provide enhanced security and isolation. Thus, you can run more workloads on fewer servers by running VMs and containers on the same platform. This can significantly reduce costs when you allocate resources based on workload requirements. This will, in turn, ensure that resources are used efficiently.

Moreover, using OSV can simplify your IT infrastructure by reducing the tools and platforms needed to manage workloads. You can streamline management and decrease complexity using one platform for containers and VMs. Furthermore, OSV helps to modernize your organization’s applications and infrastructure. Companies build legacy applications to run on traditional infrastructure, such as virtual machines. But, these applications can be challenging to migrate to containers. Running VMs on OpenShift Virtualization allows you to use cloud-native features such as auto-scaling. It also enables you to utilize features like high availability and infrastructure like code. OSV provides you with a consistent and secure platform to run traditional and modern applications

Finally, OpenShift Virtualization is an open-source platform backed by a large, active community. This means that you can take advantage of the latest innovations and enhancements.

Improved Security For Virtual Machines and Containers

Security is a top priority for any IT infrastructure, and OpenShift Virtualization offers several features that make it a secure option for running VMs. One of those security features is isolation, which is a critical feature. It separates VMs and containers on the same infrastructure in OpenShift Virtualization.

OSV achieves this separation through hardware-level virtualization. Hardware-level virtualization creates isolated environments for each VM and container. Each virtual environment encapsulates a VM and container in its own secluded space. Its own virtualized hardware resources like CPUs and storage are within this environment. Isolation ensures that a compromised VM or container cannot affect other VMs or containers.

OpenShift Virtualization provides isolation for VMs and containers in different ways. For VMs, it uses Hardware-level virtualization to create isolated environments wholly isolated from each other. Conversely, OSV uses container-level virtualization to create isolated environments that are less separated than VMs. However, these still provide a high level of isolation.

Containers share the same operating system kernel with the host OS. However, each container has its file system, network interfaces, and process space. This ensures that each container is isolated from others on the same infrastructure. With OpenShift Virtualization, administrators can set specific network traffic rules between virtual machines and containers. This way, only authorized traffic is allowed, reducing unnecessary traffic and improving network security.

Finally, OpenShift Virtualization provides role-based access controls (RBAC) that allow administrators to control access to resources based on user roles. Administrators can define roles for different users and groups using RBAC, giving them access to resources according to those roles. This will ensure that VM and containers are only accessible to authorized users while resource access is limited to the minimum required.

Best Practices For OpenShift Virtualization

Running multiple workloads on a single physical server is vital for your IT company, as it reduces hardware costs while increasing utilization and agility. OpenShift Virtualization is the best way you can make this a reality. Here are some of the best practices to remember when implementing OpenShift Virtualization.

Start Small and Scale Up

When starting with OpenShift Virtualization, starting small is essential. Once you have started, you can scale up as needed. This will help you avoid over-provisioning and wasting resources. You can start with a few VMs and containers. Then, gradually increase the number of workloads as your needs grow.

Use Appropriate Resource Allocation

OpenShift Virtualization’s top advantage lies in its capacity to allocate resources dynamically to VMs and containers. However, to ensure optimal performance, you must configure resource allocation properly. This can include setting resource limits for each VM or container. Also, ensure that they have access to the required resources.

Prioritize Security

Security should be a top priority when using OpenShift Virtualization. Virtualized environments are susceptible to attacks and vulnerabilities. These attacks and vulnerabilities can compromise the integrity and confidentiality of data. To prevent this, you should;

  • Secure the host environment,
  • Secure communication between VMs and containers, and
  • Ensure that you update all software with security patches.

OpenShift Virtualization provides various security features, including SELinux, Security Context Constraints, and Pod Security Policies, which you can use.

Backup and Recovery

Storware Backup and Recovery is a comprehensive solution for backing up and recovering data from OpenShift Virtualization environments. It offers a wide range of features to protect data from loss, comply with regulations, and recover data after a mistake. It is a reliable and affordable solution that is easy to use.

Final Summary

OpenShift virtualization enables VM workloads to move to container platforms for the interim period. It allows developers enough time to modernize the application and make it containerized. IT organizations can remove the legacy virtualization management layer once VM moves to Openshift. This helps them invest and focus on one common platform and build skills and processes.

Additionally, OpenShift virtualization is a feature of the OpenShift Container Platform. The OpenShift Operator framework delivers, manages, and integrates it. This means there are no extra costs when you need to deploy the operator on a new or existing OpenShift cluster. Openshift virtualization is meant to make space in every data center. Thus, it’s worth keeping a close eye on its developments.

text written by:

Łukasz Błocki, Professional Services Architect