For those taking part in academic projects, KVM (kernel-based virtual machine) represents a cost-effective, fully customizable way to create a hosting environment for your applications and data. KVM is a free, open source virtual private server (VPS). Basing a KVM server in the cloud has the added benefit of enhancing collaborative capabilities for access by additional researchers and other relevant parties.
We publish blog articles regularly on the subject of virtualization technology. That content integrates with information on VPS hosting elsewhere on our site. Despite the general content we have on the subject, it’s helpful to consider a real-world situation between one of our hosting consultants and an academic client. We will then elaborate on two aspects of the request: KVM and multiple IP’s.
Open source virtualization for academic projects
Consultant: Tell us about your hosting needs.
Client: I want to purchase VPS under XEN virtualization. I really need it for an experiment within our academic project which requires multiple IP addresses. Can you give me a quote for this, along with the minimum requirements that you have?
Consultant: Our VPS is KVM based and not XEN. Each server comes with 1 IP. The extra IP’s are $ 3.65 per month, per IP. Do you know how many additional IP addresses you will need?
Client: I think 3, for a total of 4.
Consultant: Okay, that sounds fine. Note that our pricing is based on either a 12-month or 24-month term. Any other questions?
Client: Where do I go to sign up? Other than that, I’m good for now.
Consultant: Here is the link: https://cloud.atlantic.net/index.php?page=signup_ws. If you have any other questions, please send them to us.
4 advantages of KVM for academic institutions
The customer is interested in open source virtualization. Their needs fit with a KVM environment, which offers a number of benefits over competitive solutions.
According to IBM, the kernel-based virtual machine represents a major step forward for open source virtualization. KVM essentially converts the Linux kernel into a hypervisor. By integrating the kernel itself into the virtualization process, KVM allows the OS to perform various hypervisor functions: task organization, RAM administration, and communication with physical machines.
The virtual machines generated by KVM are processes within the Linux system, but you can also run a Windows operating system within any KVM server. A rendition of QEMU, an open-source tool that mimics the behavior of I/O (input/output) components, is built into each VM as well. Those characteristics allow KVM to process data from both Windows and Linux environments, with the option to utilize additional Linux modules to enhance your functionality.
Beyond what’s described above, here are four specific advantages of using KVM to turn your Linux kernel into a hypervisor:
- Freedom – Schools don’t want to be trapped into a particular model of VPS, stuck within a proprietary machine with high costs to migrate. KVM, because it is open source, gives your infrastructure greater flexibility to adapt as needed.
- Cost – Because KVM is open source and available standardly through the major Linux distributions, it is highly affordable. A Red Hat study determined a total cost of ownership (TCO) of VPS options over three years. The results make KVM incredibly attractive: it was 39% less expensive than alternatives.
- Performance – A 2010 analysis of VPS brands by the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) found that KVM had the strongest performance and greatest numbers of machines operating effectively through one host. KVM had a 94% better capacity than VMware in the study.
- Security – A Linux kernel security module called Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) generates server hardening via Mandatory Access Control between KVM machines. This feature acts as a layer of protection between various virtualization users within a public cloud environment, allowing academic institutions that need strong security to utilize KVM in public and private cloud settings, without the expense of additional VPS security software.
2 Tips on multiple IP (Internet Protocol) addresses for schools
The customer was also interested in multiple IP addresses. Sometimes those building websites, developing applications, or managing infrastructures are unsure on the issue of additional IP’s. One user on Stack Exchange asked for feedback on the issue and received the following basic tips:
- SSL certificates – Multiple IP’s are necessary if you have installed one SSL certificate on a server that you want to use for multiple websites; and
- General security – You can use one IP address for http/https traffic, another for FTP (file transfer protocol) or SSH (secure shell) tunneling, and another one for your mail. The advantage here is that your publicly available IP – associated with your website through the domain name system (DNS) – is not the one that you use for internal, back-end access. In this way, your system immediately becomes more secure simply by partitioning your traffic through different channels.
Are you in need of KVM virtualization or another hosting solution for your academic institution? Find out today why a fully customized solution from Atlantic.Net, backed by 24/7 customer support, might be the right choice for your project.