The main difference between KVM and Xen is that KVM is a virtualization module in Linux kernel that works similar to a hypervisor, while Xen is a type 1 hypervisor that allows multiple operating systems to execute on the same computer hardware, simultaneously.
Virtualization is a methodology of creating a virtual version of a network resource, device and operating system. It helps to share resources efficiently and reduces costs to a great extent. Therefore, most enterprises use virtualization. Furthermore, a virtual machine helps to implement virtualization. A hypervisor is a software, firmware or hardware that creates and manages virtual machines. Moreover, there are two types of hypervisors as type 1 hypervisor and type 2 hypervisor. Type 1 runs directly on the hardware, while type 2 executes on an operating system like a usual computer program.
Key Areas Covered
Hypervisor, KVM, Virtualization, Virtual Machine, Xen
What is KVM
KVM stands for Kernel-based Virtual Machine. It allows the kernel to operate as a hypervisor. Moreover, it requires a processor with hardware virtualization extensions such as Intel VT or AMD-V. KVM was initially designed for x86 processors. Later, it was ported to processors such as ARM, PowerPC etc. Operating systems such as FreeBSD and illumos contain KVM as loadable kernel modules. Also, KVM provides hardware-assisted virtualization for many guest operating systems such as Linux, Solaris, Windows, Haiku and OS X. Furthermore, Android 2.2, Darwin 8.-.1 etc. work with some limitations.
Furthermore, some graphical management tools having KVM are as follows.
Kimchi is KVM’s web-based virtualization management tool
Virtual Machine Manager allows creating, editing, starting and stopping KVM based virtual machine
OpenQRM allows managing and controlling various data centre infrastructures.
GNOME Boxes – Gnome interface for handling libvirt guests on Linux.
oVirt is an open source virtualization management tool for KVM
Proxmox Virtual Environment is an open source virtualization management package with KVM and LXC.
What is Xen
Xen or Xen Project is a type 1 hypervisor. It provides services to allow multiple computer operating systems to execute on the same computer hardware simultaneously. Moreover, the initial developer of the Xen project was the University of Cambridge. However, the current developers are Linux Foundation and Intel.
More importantly, the Xen project community maintains the Xen project as free and open source software. Furthermore, this project is currently available for the IA-32 x86-6 and ARM instruction sets.
Difference Between KVM and Xen
KVM is a virtualization module in the Linux kernel that allows the kernel to function as a hypervisor while Xen is a type 1 hypervisor that provides services to allow multiple computer operating systems to execute on the same computer hardware concurrently. Thus, this is the main difference between KVM and Xen.
Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA) developed KVM, whereas Linux Foundation and Intel developed Xen. This is also a difference between KVM and Xen.
In brief, KVM and Xen are two hypervisors written in C language. The main difference between KVM and Xen is that KVM is a virtualization module in Linux kernel that works similar to a hypervisor while Xen is a type 1 hypervisor that allows multiple operating systems to execute on the same computer hardware simultaneously.