From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Friday, November 13, 2009

Results of the Ubuntu Virtualization Survey

A big thanks to everyone that participated in the Ubuntu Virtualization Survey. I am pleased to share the results with you now.
I will provide a few of my own observations, but we are very interested in your own conclusions!
  • There were a total of 354 responses -- excellent feedback!
  • Nearly 2/3 of all responders use virtualization on Ubuntu every day -- wow!
  • Over 3/4 of responders have VT acceleration -- that's overwhelming, I think, and it supports our focus on KVM.
  • Still, there's 21% of responders who cannot use KVM. kqemu has been deprecated by upstream QEMU, so I think VirtualBox represents the best option at this point for non-accelerated virtualization.
  • 36.7% of responders most use VirtualBox, 22.6% most use KVM. VirtualBox is in Universe and essentially unmaintained by Canonical (though some community individuals are doing an excellent job maintaining it!). I don't know what the business opportunity is around VirtualBox. But it is clear that it's popular among Ubuntu users. People really like the interface and the usability. And we could probably really improve the experience for a large number of Ubuntu virtualization users with some dedicated Canonical effort to clean up the VirtualBox bug backlog.
  • My survey design was evidently flawed on Question #3, as a large number of people "wrote in" an "EC2" answer there. This is an interesting approach, as it diminishes the importances of having VT on the local system.
  • In terms of interfaces, virt-manager and virsh are both lagging behind kvm-from-the-command-line and VirtualBox. I don't know if this means that we should, or should not invest more in the libvirt-based tools. Is the lack of a good GUI for KVM hindering its adoption? I think this data says so...
  • Finally, the overwhelming majority suggests that better documentation is simply required for Ubuntu virtualization. I wonder how we should approach solving this? Is this something that we as engineers should be able to just crank out ourselves? Or should we tap into the Ubuntu-Documentation-Team, and attempt to rally a virt-documentation blitz from some more skilled tech writers?
In summary, I think the most important observations are that:
  • The overwhelming number of respondents have access to VT hardware.
  • VirtualBox is quite popular in the wild, despite a lack of Canonical investment.
  • The lack of a better user-interface is hindering KVM's adoption.
  • Better documentation is undoubtedly requested.
Are there other observations you'd like to share or conclusions you can draw?

We will be in Dallas next week for the Lucid Ubuntu Developer Summit, discussing the future of Virtualization on Ubuntu. Thank you so much for your feedback!