SmartOS zones — operating system virtualization

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    Operating System Virtualization

    "Thanks to the Solaris/Illumos heritage, SmartOS already had Containers and Zones — container-based virtualization (containers is supposed to mean zones + resource controls) that allowed users to run multiple applications sets on one server isolated from one another. With KVM on SmartOS, Joyent can now address workloads that require running a full operating system for those customers who need Linux, Windows, or other operating systems to run in full, hardware-assisted virtualization. Unlike any other "hypervisor", Joyent's KVM images run as a process inside of a zone: turns out to be a very secure way to run Windows. And, unlike Linux, SmartOS will also give customers access to Solaris technologies that many users find compelling – like DTrace and ZFS. " ReadWriteEnterprise

    «Brendan Gregg, Lead Performance Engineer at Joyent, has done an extensive analysis comparing the performance of Zones, KVM and Xen. In a post on the DTrace blog, he summarizes their performance in four ways: Characteristics, block diagrams, internals and results. Through looking at the I/O path (network, disk) and its overhead, he provides some minimum config results comparing performance between OS virtualization (Zones) and the hardware virtualization of Xen and KVM varieties. Brendan's full post offers deeper insight into how each of these technologies work, how each criterion for performance is evaluated and the code path for performing network I/O with each technology. Read the full analysis on the DTrace blog.» — Joyent

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