What is OpenVz (Open Virtualization)

License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 or 5, or CentOS 6 or 5, or Scientific Linux 6 or 5.
Requirements: - Intel Celeron, Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium 4, Xeon, or AMD Athlon CPU
- At least 128 MB of RAM
- Hard drive with at least 4 GB of free disk space. Each Virtual Private Server occupies 400 - 600 MB of hard disk space for system files in addition to the user data inside the Virtual Private Server
Date Update: Aug 25, 2011
Developer: OpenVZ
RSS Feed: http://wiki.openvz.org/RSS_feeds
Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/openvz

Download: Download Download OpenVZ
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Software Price: Buy It is free.

In the world of computing, you'll hear a lot about virtualization technology and virtualization software. Part of the reason for this is because virtualization is a huge topic that you will have to know and understand eventually if you ever want to get into computing especially in the enterprise IT sector. So what is virtualization technology exactly, and how can it help you in your day-to-day computing tasks?

Virtualization is basically a way to create a virtual version of something so that it can be used in a certain way that isn't possible physically for any number of reasons. Virtualization can be done for operating systems, storage devices, hardware platforms, or network resources. Usually, virtualization is done in order to centralize certain administrative tasks as well as to improve the scalability and work load across physical systems. When it comes to virtualization technology, you will come across many virtualization technology and virtualization software products. One such virtualization technology goes by the name of OpenVZ, which is an open operating system-level solution for those who want to run multiple instances of an OS on one physical server.

OpenVZ can be defined in many ways. One could say that OpenVZ is actually a codename for what is really called Open Virtualization, which is an operating system-level virtualization technology that is based on the Linux kernel and Linux operating system. What OpenVZ does is offer a container-based virtualization solution for the Linux operating system that is open and truly free. Basically, it allows one to run multiple instances of an operating system on just a single physical server. These instances are what are known as containers, Virtual Environments, or Virtual Private Servers (VPS). OpenVZ can be likened to Solaris Zones and FreeBSD Jails.

OpenVZ Architecture

Image source : linux for devices

So how does OpenVZ differ from virtual machines like VMWare and paravirtualization technologies such as Xen? Compared to these, OpenVZ is somewhat limited because one of its requirements is that the host and the guest OS are both Linux. It does allow users to use different Linux distros across containers, however. And it offers a great advantage in that unlike a standalone server, there will only be a max of 3% performance penalty with it. And on top of that, OpenVZ's main selling point - though it isn't actually for sale - is that it offers several secure containers that allow improved server utilization and guarantee that applications don't conflict with one another on just one physical server.

OpenVZ Web Panel screenshot

OpenVZ Web Panel

OpenVZ Web Panel OpenVZ Web Panel OpenVZ Web Panel

Click to see Screenshots

Image source : code.google.com

The beauty of OpenVZ lies in its ability to create containers that can act just like a standalone server would. This means that OpenVZ containers can be operated just like a standalone server, going through all the different things like rebooting, gaining root access, and so on. And the best part about it is that it is offered completely free of charge, since it is free open source software that is available under the GNU GPL. Parallels, Inc. used OpenVZ as the basis for its commercial virtualization product called Virtuozzo Containers.

Some of OpenVZ's many features include scalability, since it is as scalable as the Linux kernel itself due to the fact that it uses a single kernel module. It can support up to 64GB of Random Access Memory or RAM and up to 4096 Central Processing Units or CPUs. It's interesting to note that even a single container when properly configured can use up all the resources in any given system. That is, utilize all of the available RAM and CPUs. Another feature is the performance, which has been mentioned earlier.

In order to install and use OpenVZ, you need only to have some form of Linux already installed on a physical machine. There are several quick installation guides available online for those who need it. And what's more, you can go ahead and use it even without installing anything. You can simply boot up to it by using a live CD if you just want to test it out before going further with any installations. That way, you can experience the advantages and disadvantages of OpenVZ first hand, so that you can measure it up for yourself and find out if it is really worth your precious time and effort to use.

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