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Project Kensho Released

Citrix took another step forward in its quest to push the envelope for virtualization interoperability by releasing a technology preview of Project Kensho, the company's multi-hypervisor toolkit that allows ISVs and IT managers to develop portable virtual machine (VM) appliances.

The basis for Project Kensho, first announced last July, is the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF's) Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF), an emerging standard considered critical to the development of multi-vendor interoperability in the virtualization market.

OVF has been jointly developed by VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and Novell; it defines a VM's metadata as well as how VMs are configured. OVF-compliant VMs can move seamlessly between hypervisors from different vendors, such as VMware's ESX, Microsoft's Hyper-V, Citrix' XenServer and the open source Xen hypervisor, used by multiple vendors like Virtual Iron, Novell, Sun, Oracle and others.

VMs are containers that normally house an operating system. When bundled with an application, they're usually referred to as virtual appliances. They aren't hooked into the base operating system, which means multiple virtual appliances can be loaded on a single physical server, and move easily between servers.

Citrix is releasing Kensho under the open source Lesser General Public License (LGPL), hoping to speed adoption of OVF. The company is also working with a company called rPath to leverage Project Kensho for cloud computing environments such as Amazon's EC2. Cloud computing represents a new direction for virtualization suppliers; both VMware and Citrix made major announcements about their future directions last month.

In a company statement, Simon Crosby, Citrix CTO said "we have also decided to release the core components of Project Kensho and our implementation of the DMTF System Virtualization, Partitioning and Clustering (SVPC) profiles for XenServer as open source software. Combined, we hope these actions will accelerate the adoption of OVF as an industry standard portable VM format."

The Project Kensho technology preview is available as a free download here.

About the Author

Tom Valovic is a freelance technology writer.

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