Solution Guide Parallels Virtualization for Linux

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1 Solution Guide Parallels Virtualization for Linux

2 Overview Created in 1991, Linux was designed to be UNIX-compatible software that was composed entirely of open source or free software components. Linux derives much of its design principles from those established in the 1970 s by UNIX. These principles include a single kernel that handles process control, file system access, networking and peripheral device access. Device drivers are integrated directly into the kernel. Today, the Linux operating system has been commercially available for over a decade and is considered the most widely available open source operating system on the market. It is distributed on a wide range of devices from cell phones to supercomputers, but it is on the server platform that Linux has become the most widely available server operating system ever seen 1. Traditionally limited to test & development, web hosting and file/print applications, Linux has now expanded into mission-critical environments within the Fortune There are a number of reasons for this acceleration including 2 : Maturing or hardening of the operating system Low total cost of ownership making Linux a cost-effective alternate operating system that enables standardization of server platform providing significant cost reductions in support. Virtualization is accelerating Linux adoption due to widespread availability of offerings incorporated into Linux distributions PARALLELS VIRTUALIZATION FOR LINUX Parallels virtualization for Linux is an excellent virtualization companion by leveraging the Linux kernel with Parallels patented technology providing cost efficiency and power customers are seeking today. Powering Parallels virtualization for Linux is operating system virtualization (OS virtualization). OS virtualization is a server virtualization method where the kernel of an operating system allows for multiple isolated user instances. Such instances, called containers, look and feel like a real server from the point of view of its owner. Parallels virtualization for Linux places a small virtualization layer on top of the operating system kernel providing a lean and efficient virtualization solution for today s organizations. Parallels virtualization for Linux provides organizations with: Highest density of virtualized machines to physical servers in the industry Platform-agnostic virtualization Web-based tools to centrally manage the virtual environment from any location Cost-effective solution with integrated high-availability and management toolset 1 Linux Adoption in Global Recession, IDC, Al Gillen & Brett Waldman, March, Ibid. Parallels 2

3 OS Virtualization (containers) Virtualizing at the host operating system, Parallels virtualization for Linux provides a common virtualization layer that allocates system resources across all virtual servers, or containers. The result is a leaner and more efficient virtualization layer with an overhead of approximately 2%. This translates into near native server performance as well as provides unique advantages for management of the virtual environment. Low overhead allows IT to harness the full power of their business architectures providing: Fast context switching and better memory management Ability to maintain database and application optimizations Complete isolation of virtual environments providing data integrity Load balancing of virtual CPUs to logical CPUs to ensure maximum efficiency Parallels virtualization for Linux provides density ratios up to 3X higher than hypervisor solutions. With today s lean budgets, more virtual environments mean higher utilization of your existing servers potentially eliminating the need for new equipment purchases in the current fiscal year. Hundreds of virtual servers per physical server also translate into reductions in energy costs and lower support costs. Maximum optimization of resources is taken one step further with Intelligent Partitioning, which creates a blueprint of an operating system or application back to the host OS. This creates a small footprint for each container (20MB disk & 20 MB memory) and allows management operations, such as backup, to be lightening fast. For example: a 3 Gybte Linux workload would take approximately 15 seconds to backup. DATA SECURITY & INTEGRITY Compromised business data is an embarrassment to any organization. Parallels virtualization for Linux utilizes the mature Linux kernel for critical tasks as well as native APIs for system resources such as: CPU scheduler, memory, hardware drivers, network, file system access and architecture specific management code. This eliminates the need to use home grown microkernel utilized by hypervisor solutions. To view what unhardened micro-kernel can do to your environment, view: OS virtualization provides complete isolation of each container. When servers are being consolidated in the virtual world, there is no need for unrelated applications to share information. Isolation provides a boundary around an operating system, workload or application so that they can co-exist on the same system without affecting or interfering with each other. Complete isolation implies that any resource within the boundary remains in full control of the operating system running on the virtual server. Parallels virtualization for Linux ensures that workloads are completely independent of each other as well as hiding system actions from the outside world. When system actions are visible, they are more vulnerable to attack. Ultimately, any environment is only as secure as the operating system so Parallels adds anti-virus to the host to provide an extra layer of protection. To date, over 1.5M+ containers have been installed since introduction in 2000 without a single attack. Parallels 3

4 DYNAMIC RESOURCE ALLOCATION Under traditional models of isolation, workload scalability is compromised due to the need for pre-allocation of resources. System utilization, density and efficiency suffer as unused resources cannot be easily reclaimed for use by other workloads. Parallels virtualization for Linux provides centralized control of resources along with strong isolation allowing the user to dynamically reallocate resources on-the-fly without reboot. Hypervisors create redundant copies of the entire environment: operating system, kernel and resources. The isolation model used by Parallels virtualization for Linux encapsulates just one process (or full user level environment), allowing resource sharing and reallocation between container workloads to be completed automatically or on demand. PLATFORM AGNOSTIC Parallels virtualization for Linux is unique to the industry with platform independence. The same virtualization platform and management APIs work on x86, x64 and Itanium server architectures. Parallels is the only virtualization vendor that supports multiple Linux OS distributions and editions on the same host. MANAGEMENT Managing hundreds of virtual servers can become complex. Parallels Virtual Automation, formerly known as Parallels Infrastructure Manager, provides users with a web-based management console providing a centralized view of their infrastructure. While Parallels virtualization for Linux provides automatic resource balancing, the IT administrator also has the ability to place minimums (guarantees) or maximums (limits) on system resources. When a particular resource is approaching a pre-defined threshold, an alert is issued for the administrator to add or subtract resources as appropriate. Administrators have the alternative of using a command line interface (CLI) for scripting and integration into third party packages. A SDK and API are available to help IT reduce time to market for custom applications as well as a full SNMP MIB for integration into third party solutions such as backup, database and management tools. Templates provide the ability to quickly provision as well as manage versions and updates of applications and is made possible through the link process discussed in the OS virtualization section. Templates share the application layer code and DLL s from the operating system or application providing the ability to create multiple containers or a single container within seconds. The administrator does not need to be logged into the container in order to deploy templates. When using templates, Parallels virtualization for Linux installs applications into a temporary sandbox to record the application. The template process never uses the host to ensure it is not compromised in any way. Parallels 4

5 Figure 1 Application Template Updating the server operating system is a single step compared to the multiple step process with hypervisors. As the host operating system is being updated, Parallels virtualization for Linux automatically propagates the update into the individual containers. This automatic update process can be turned off making the patch process workload dependent. Figure 2 Linux Operating System Templates Unlike hypervisor solutions, a backup utility is included with Parallels Virtual Automation reducing the overall cost of the Linux solution. The tool recognizes files as links and backs up just the links making the process lightening fast. Backup on an average 26 Mbyte file can occur within 15 seconds. In the event a container is lost or compromised, the administrator simply identifies the operating system + application template + links automatically recreating the container. Parallels virtualization for Linux also provides live migration across virtual servers residing on x86 hardware. Live migration can be completed on any two servers on the network running Parallels virtualization for Linux. No additional configuration is required. Migrating to another virtual environment is as simple Parallels 5

6 as identifying the virtual environment and associated application(s) and the migration is accomplished between networked servers transparently with almost no downtime. Live migration can be extremely useful when a hardware problem is identified allowing for the migration of data before the server goes down. For more information on live migration, download a white paper at: For heterogeneous environments, Parallels Virtual Automation can centrally manage both Linux and Windows servers from the same management console. SUMMARY Parallels virtualization for Linux is the perfect virtualization companion to your Linux environment. The efficiency of OS virtualization provides the highest density ratios available today along with virtually no overhead providing near native server performance. A leaner virtualization layer provides fast management operations and the ability to create operating system and application templates that can deployed within seconds on multiple or single containers. Parallels is the only virtualization vendor providing server platform independence and the ability to dynamically reallocate virtual resources to ensure maximum server utilization. To learn more or schedule a live demo, go to: Or contact Parallels directly at: Parallels 6

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