Open Virtualization: A Modern IT Shift

The IT infrastructure field is continuously adapting, and open virtualization has become an important aspect of this change. This approach stands as an alternative to conventional proprietary methods, notable for its flexibility and potential for cost savings. It also allows for freedom from vendor-specific limits. For businesses looking for solutions to enhance control and flexibility within their IT systems, understanding open virtualization is key. This guide aims to provide insights into open virtualization, focusing on its definition, benefits, and its role in various IT settings.

What is Open Virtualization?

Open virtualization refers to the use of software-based virtualization solutions that are open-source, meaning their source code is freely available for anyone to inspect, modify, and enhance. Unlike proprietary virtualization technologies that are developed, controlled, and restricted by specific companies, open virtualization platforms are typically developed and maintained by a community of contributors.

This form of virtualization allows for a more collaborative and transparent approach. It enables organizations to build and manage virtualized IT environments without the constraints of licensing agreements, thereby offering more control over their technology choices. Open virtualization tools often support a wide range of hardware and software systems, further adding to their appeal for businesses seeking versatile and adaptable IT solutions.

By choosing open virtualization, organizations can benefit from the collective knowledge and continuous improvements contributed by a global community of developers and IT professionals. This collaborative environment not only fosters innovation but also helps in quickly addressing and resolving potential software issues.

Benefits of Open Virtualization

Open virtualization comes with a suite of benefits that cater to the diverse needs of modern businesses. These advantages make it an attractive option for those looking to modernize their IT infrastructure.

  • Cost advantages: One of the most appealing aspects of open virtualization is its potential for cost reduction. Unlike proprietary solutions that often come with high licensing fees, open-source virtualization platforms can be used without such costs. This makes them particularly attractive for businesses looking to reduce IT expenses.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: Open virtualization platforms are known for their flexibility. They allow businesses to configure and adapt their virtual environments to meet specific needs without the limitations often imposed by proprietary solutions. This adaptability makes it easier to scale and modify IT infrastructures as business needs evolve.
  • Vendor independence: Opting for open virtualization empowers businesses with vendor independence. This means companies are not tied to a single vendor’s roadmap or pricing structure, allowing for more strategic IT decision-making. It also reduces the risk of vendor lock-in, where businesses become overly dependent on a single vendor’s technologies and services.
  • Community-driven innovation: Open virtualization benefits from the contributions of a global community of developers and users. This communal effort leads to rapid innovation and development, as diverse ideas and perspectives contribute to the evolution of the platform. Community involvement also ensures a broader testing and feedback loop, which can enhance the stability and security of the platform.
  • Broad compatibility: Open virtualization solutions typically offer wide compatibility with various hardware and software, making them suitable for a diverse range of IT environments. This compatibility is crucial for businesses that use a mix of technologies and need a virtualization solution that can integrate seamlessly with their existing systems.

By leveraging these benefits, organizations can create a more dynamic, responsive, and cost-effective IT environment. Open virtualization not only aligns with the current needs of businesses but also positions them well for future technological advancements and challenges.

Key Open Virtualization Platforms

Open virtualization encompasses a variety of platforms, each offering unique features and capabilities. Here’s a look at some of the prominent platforms in this space:

Red Hat Open Shift:

  • An open-source platform
  • Built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux OS and Kubernetes
  • Offers deployment and infrastructure options that support all applications and environments

KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine):

  • A Linux-based open-source platform
  • Part of the Linux kernel, allowing it to leverage the performance and security features of Linux
  • Supports various guest operating systems including Linux, Windows, and macOS


  • A free, open-source virtualization management platform
  • Built on top of KVM and offers a web-based interface for managing virtualized data centers
  • Integrates with other open-source solutions like Gluster for storage and Ansible for automation


  • A popular open-source virtualization platform
  • Known for its high performance and efficiency, particularly in cloud computing environments
  • Supports paravirtualization, which enhances performance by allowing guests to be aware of the virtual environment


  • A powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise and home use
  • Known for its ease of use and rich feature set
  • A product of Oracle, but remains a free and open-source software

Each of these platforms has its own strengths and ideal use cases, allowing businesses to choose a solution that best fits their specific virtualization needs.

Integration with Existing IT Environments

Integrating open virtualization solutions into an existing IT infrastructure requires careful planning and consideration. Here are key points to consider:

Assessment of current infrastructure:

  • Begin with a thorough assessment of the current IT environment
  • Identify the hardware, software, and network configurations already in place
  • Understand the compatibility and requirements of the chosen open virtualization platform with the existing setup

Planning for compatibility and scalability:

  • Ensure the open virtualization solution is compatible with existing systems and can scale as needed
  • Plan for future growth and changes in the IT environment

Training and skill development:

  • Open virtualization might require new skills or knowledge
  • Consider training for IT staff to manage and maintain the virtualized environment effectively

Migration strategy:

  • Develop a migration plan for moving existing workloads to the virtualized environment
  • This may include phased rollouts or testing in non-production environments first

Security and compliance:

  • Assess the security features of the open virtualization solution and how they align with current security protocols
  • Ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations

Continuous monitoring and management:

  • After integration, continuous monitoring of the virtualized environment is crucial
  • Regular management ensures optimal performance and quick resolution of any issues

Successful integration hinges on understanding the specifics of the open virtualization platform and how it can complement and enhance the existing IT framework.

Security Considerations in Open Virtualization

For organizations adopting open virtualization, placing a strong emphasis on security is essential. This technology offers significant flexibility and efficiency, but it also necessitates a focused approach to security practices to ensure the safety and privacy of virtualized systems. Establishing comprehensive security measures is a critical step in fully utilizing the advantages of open virtualization and protecting against various risks. Organizations can begin to mitigate those risks by following these steps:

Regular updates and patches:

  • Stay updated with the latest patches and updates for the virtualization platform
  • Regular updates help in addressing vulnerabilities and enhancing security

Secure configuration:

  • Ensure that the virtualization platform is configured and tested secure
  • Follow best practices for setting up virtual networks, storage, and virtual machines

Access controls:

  • Implement strong access control measures
  • Restrict access to virtualization management tools to authorized personnel only

Monitoring and auditing:

  • Continuously monitor the virtualized environment for any unusual activities
  • Regular auditing helps in identifying potential security gaps and ensuring compliance with policies

Disaster recovery and backup:

  • Have a robust disaster recovery plan in place
  • Regular backups of virtual machines and data are crucial for restoring systems in case of a security incident

With these security measures in place, organizations can not only safeguard their virtualized environments but also pave the way for further innovation and collaboration. This leads us to the importance of community engagement in open virtualization. The collaborative and open nature of this technology not only fuels its growth but also plays a significant role in its security and adaptability.

Engaging with the Open-Source Community in Open Virtualization

The community surrounding open virtualization platforms is a key component of their success and sustainability. Here’s how engaging with this community can be beneficial:

Collaborative development and innovation:

  • Open virtualization platforms benefit from the collective efforts of a worldwide community of developers and users
  • Collaboration leads to a diverse range of ideas and rapid advancements in technology

Access to resources and support:

  • A wealth of forums, online groups, and extensive documentation is available, offering valuable insights, tips, and guidance
  • These resources are essential for troubleshooting and understanding best practices

Opportunities for contribution:

  • Users are encouraged to contribute to the development of these platforms, whether it’s through coding, documentation, or providing feedback
  • Contributions from the community can lead to enhancements and features that benefit a wide range of use cases

Problem-solving through community engagement:

  • Community forums and groups are excellent resources for finding solutions to challenges
  • Engaging with peers can lead to discovering effective strategies and solutions

Learning and development opportunities:

  • Many open virtualization projects provide educational materials and training opportunities
  • These learning resources are often freely accessible or offered at a minimal cost

Networking and knowledge sharing events:

  • Participating in events, meet-ups, and conferences allows for networking, learning, and sharing experiences with other users
  • These events enhance the sense of community and promote collaborative growth

Engaging with the open-source community in open virtualization is invaluable for staying informed, resolving issues, and contributing to the ongoing development of technology.

Challenges and Considerations in Implementing Open Virtualization

For many organizations aiming to update and enhance their IT infrastructure, choosing open virtualization is a strategic decision. This approach, while offering significant benefits, also brings its own unique challenges and considerations. Awareness and preparation for these potential obstacles are key to ensuring a successful transition and maximizing the benefits of open virtualization technology.

Requirement for technical expertise:

  • Implementing and managing open virtualization solutions can require a higher level of technical expertise compared to proprietary solutions
  • In-house teams may need additional training or support to effectively manage these systems

Compatibility issues:

  • Ensuring compatibility with existing hardware and software can be a challenge
  • Thoroughly test and validate the open virtualization solution in your specific environment.

Community dependency:

  • While community support is a strength, reliance on community for troubleshooting and updates can sometimes lead to delays, especially for less common issues or setups

Integration efforts:

  • Integrating open virtualization solutions with existing IT infrastructure and processes can require significant effort
  • This might involve customization, additional tooling, or changes to existing workflows

Security responsibility:

  • With open-source solutions, the responsibility for ensuring security often falls more heavily on the user
  • Regular monitoring, updates, and security best practices become even more critical

Resource management:

  • Effective resource allocation and management within an open virtualization environment can be complex.
  • Balancing performance, availability, and cost requires careful planning and ongoing adjustment.

Despite these challenges, with the right approach and preparation, open virtualization can be a highly effective solution for many organizations. Understanding these considerations helps in better planning and successful implementation.

Implementing Open Virtualization: A High-Level Guide

Implementing an open virtualization solution involves several key steps:

Initial assessment and planning:

  • Start with a comprehensive assessment of your current IT infrastructure
  • Identify the needs, goals, and potential challenges for integrating an open virtualization solution
  • Develop a clear plan outlining the scope, timeline, and resources required

Choosing the right platform:

  • Evaluate different open virtualization platforms based on your specific requirements
  • Consider factors like compatibility, scalability, community support, and security features
  • Select a platform that aligns with your organizational goals and technical needs

Preparation and training:

  • Prepare your IT team for the transition
  • Provide necessary training and resources to manage the new virtualization environment effectively

Testing and pilot implementation:

  • Before a full rollout, conduct thorough testing and a pilot implementation
  • This helps in identifying and addressing any issues early on

Migration and deployment:

  • Migrate existing workloads to the new virtualization environment
  • Ensure a structured and monitored deployment to minimize disruptions

Ongoing management and optimization:

  • Continuously monitor and manage the virtualized environment.
  • Regularly evaluate performance, conduct updates, and make adjustments as needed

Leveraging community resources:

  • Stay engaged with the community for ongoing support and updates.
  • Utilize available resources for continuous improvement and troubleshooting


In the dynamic realm of open virtualization, Veeam can emerge as a pivotal solution to ensure comprehensive data protection across diverse platforms. While direct support for various open virtualization platforms might not always be available, Veeam solutions can offer reliable, platform-agnostic backup options. This ensures that businesses leveraging open-source virtualization including major items like KVM or oVirt can still benefit from Veeam’s robust backup and recovery capabilities, safeguarding their virtual environments against data loss and downtime.

As virtualized infrastructures evolve, Veeam’s commitment to innovation ensures seamless protection of open virtualization workloads. Companies seeking to harness the advantages of open virtualization will find Veeam’s agent technology to be an invaluable asset, fortifying their IT strategies for a landscape in constant transformation.

Find out more about how Veeam can support your virtualization efforts or check out some of our related resources:

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