Cisco puts KVM in its IOS

KVM is the youngest virtualization platform on the scene but the strategic positions it occupied so far beat any competitor.

First, it was included in the Linux kernel after just six months from the launch, and thus today any distribution sporting kernel 2.6.20 or higher can offer it out-of-the-box.

Then it was chosen over Xen for one of the most popular consumer distribution ever: Ubuntu.

And now Cisco includes it in the new IOS-XE, the Linux-powered operating system for its highest-end router: the ASR 1000.

The Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000 is the first Cisco router that replaces its traditional in-house developed IOS with Linux and targets service providers and biggest enterprises.
Among the exclusive features offered by this new equipment there is the operating system redundancy, achieved without any hardware module: a first in the networking industry.

How Cisco is able to provide a redundant IOS image? Through KVM virtual machines as Information Week reports.
At this point is still unknown which version of Linux kernel is used for IOS-XE and which version of KVM as well, but the company must be absolutely sure of its reliability to use it in such high-end product.

It’s interesting that fact that Cisco chosen KVM for this task, while it’s very busy with VMware, investing in VMW, occupying its keynotes, and maybe (it’s still an unconfirmed news) releasing a software switch for ESX Server.

Update: This news is bigger than expected, despite few online magazines reported it. contacted KVM Lead Developer about the story and received a No Comment answer. Other inquiries to Cisco and Qumranet returned no answers at all so far.

Second update: received a second No Comment from Qumranet.

At this point being a Cisco ASR 1000 potential customer or a VMware shareholder we’d like to have some detailed explainations about what Cisco is exactly doing with KVM and why there’s an embargo on the story.

Third update: Colin McNamara provides some more details about the the ASR 1000 architecture and the use of KVM inside it.