The Planet, the managed hosting provider that works closely with the channel, yesterday announced at the New York City Cloud Computing Expo that they’re building a cloud offering around the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) in partnership with the Linux Foundation. I stopped by the show floor to get the scoop from Carl Meadows, The Planet’s senior manager, product management. Read on for more.

Meadows says The Planet went with KVM for two very simple reasons. First off, since KVM is the hypervisor included in the main Linux kernel, 80% of The Planet’s server fleet already has it. In fact, Meadows says they probably should have started working with the Linux Foundation earlier.

The other reason is much more interesting: When the Linux kernel gets an update, so does KVM. That means a more up-to-the-minute set of security patches and, potentially, features. In fact, Meadows sees a bright future for KVM, where everyone leveraging Citrix’s Xen hypervisor makes the switch over - even Amazon Web Services.

The downsides, as Meadows acknowledges, are that so many VMs are already configured for Xen that there’s definitely a cost involved in conversion. Moreover, since KVM is relatively young, making its first appearance in the Linux kernel in 2007, the developer ecosystem isn’t quite there yet.

The Planet’s cloud server program is still in beta, but Meadows says that their first round of user feedback has been very positive. The company clearly sees KVM as the wave of the future. We’ll keep an eye on what happens when The Planet’s cloud servers officially launch later this quarter.

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