Today we are delighted to announce the release of QVD 3.1. Don’t be mislead by the minor version change, this is a release that packs some really exciting new features including support for Linux Containers and versioning for disk images, along with a number of stability and usability gains.
Linux Containers(LXC) integration means that QVD now supports two major virtualization technologies, the other being the ever dependable KVM. What LXC brings to the table is the ability for Virtual Machines to utilise the same kernel as the host on which they reside. This means greater scalability and better performance by minimising resource requirements with the net result that QVD can offer greater VM density than any other VDI solution in the market today.
We tend to talk about LXC as a fairly new technology but the fact is that it has been included in the official Linux kernel sources since 2.6.29 in March 2009 so it is an increasingly mature technology that offers the stability that we have come to expect from the platform. LXC also opens up an interesting avenue to the QVD, that of potentially supporting, in conjunction with KVM, alternative operating systems such as Microsoft Windows in future releases, so this really is a milestone for us in terms of the underlying architecture of our software.
Another major feature for QVD 3.1 is the versioning of desktop disk images. By combining the actual disk image with meta data within the QVD database, we’ve created what we call Operating System Flavors, or OSF. OSF means that for each disk image you create, you can assign runtime parameters to that disk image using our web administration tool or on the command line, giving you the ability to create several distinct environments for a desktop without incurring the cost and time involved in duplicating and storing each one individually. For larger organisations having to manage several, or even libraries of, disk images, this is a hugely beneficial development.
In addition to that, it’s possible to link multiple disk images to each OSF, meaning a potentially limitless amount of permutations for every QVD administrator. Want to add applications to a disk image and make that image available to only a subset of your users? QVD’s abstracted system makes that trivial.
And to manage all these effortlessly created disk images? We’ve added tagging, so that each disk image can be tagged automatically with a date and sequential number, or can even be assigned a bespoke tag. Each disk image can have multiple tags if necessary, and we’ve added two other meaningful tags, default and head. Default isn’t reassigned with each new disk image, so you can expect all VMs to use this unless configured otherwise, whilst head should prove useful in testing, as VMs set to use tag will always run the latest disk image in the environment.
QVD 3.1 also features a few stability improvements, including better cluster support, with the database access layer being rewritten resulting in improved, faster database failure detection and switch over. We’ve also made the new release compatible with postgresql 9.x, although 8.x is still supported.
As with previous releases, QVD 3.1 is readily configured using either the QVD-WAT, or Web Administration Tool, or for those of you who prefer the command line, our comprehensive admin tool. Work has gone into improving both on previous releases and we’ve updated (and packaged) the Catalyst web framework that ships with the software.
Much effort has gone into improving the packaging and availability of QVD 3.1. We’ve packaged it for Ubuntu 12.04 and SLES 11 SP2 (with unsupported packages for openSUSE). To access the repositories and install it yourself, please refer to our updated download page. Whilst you’re there, perhaps select a QVD client from one of our Windows, Linux or Android offerings. During the course of developing 3.1 we’ve also started work on clients for OSX and iOS, so stay tuned for those. You’ll also find our installation guide and our more comprehensive administration manual have been updated and are ready to guide you through the process of setting up QVD 3.1.
We’ve also created a QVD VirtualBox Appliance that works right out of the box, so you can demo the software with minimal configuration on your part. Please refer to the first part of our series on the QVD Appliance.
QVD remains an open source technology, something of which we are particularly proud. The source code is available in our svn repository, please feel to check it out. Like any open source project, we welcome any contributions, suggestions, and bug reports. If you’d like to get actively in contributing, please contact Nito Martinez.