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SmartOS Weds Open Solaris to Linux KVM Virtualization

Joyent releases the SmartOS operating system, that brings together Open Solaris and Linux KVM.

Cloud computing software provider Joyent has released SmartOS, an operating system that combines Open Solaris technology with the Linux KVM virtualization solution. It's based on the Illumos fork of Open Solaris, a community-driven project lead by storage distributor Nexenta. Over the course of more than half a year Joyent engineers have ported Linux' KVM, which has established itself as an alternative to virtualization products such as Xen and VMware. For instance Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is based on KVM technology. SmartOS is targeted to "everyone who runs a computer as a server", according to the FAQ, which also point out that Joyent is using SmartOS in production in their own data center.

One of the leading developers is Bryan Cantrill, who was a kernel engineer at Sun's Solaris group. After Oracle bought Sun, Cantrill has left the company and joined Joyent. Led by Joyent engineer Max Bruning, Cantrill and Robert Mustacchi helped finishing the port and did some work on profiling their software with the Solaris tracing tool Dtrace. Cantrill sees great potential in bringing together key technologies such as the ZFS filesystem and DTrace from Solaris and the lightweight KVM hypervisor from Linux. In a blog post he gives some insight into the development process. SmartOS, which is licensed under the CDDL, is supposed to fulfill that promise. The Joyent blog contains links for downloading a live ISO image of SmartOS and a howto document for installing it on a native hard disk partition.