Location: Santa Clara, CA and Netanya, Israel
Product or Service: Although still in stealth-mode, Qumranet has generated enough buzz in the open-source community that its future product offering is already coming into focus. The company will deliver virtualization solutions developed around a kernel-based approach that allows the software to be smaller and more efficient than competing solutions.
Why its innovative: Everybody has been assuming that open-source virtualization will always mean Xen, but Qumranet has taken a different approach that bears watching, said Brian Stevens, CTO of Red Hat.
Qumranet has developed KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) technology, which is a full virtualization solution based on a loadable kernel module. In contrast to Xen, which uses an external hypervisor, Qumranet believes that Linux itself serves as a good hypervisor. (A hypervisor manages the virtualization and enables multiple operating systems to share a single hardware processor.) KVM leverages Linuxs scheduler and memory management components, allowing full virtualization features at the kernel level.
Whats their track record? Since Qumranet is still in stealth-mode, this question is premature. However, theyve been active in the open-source community and have gained the attention of major players like Red Hat. Theyve already been successful at getting their virtualization technology accepted into the upstream Linux tree, Stevens said.
Funding: The company has secured an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Sequoia Capital and Norwest Venture Partners.
What are the major obstacles to overcome? First and foremost, Qumranet must compete with open-source opponent Xen, which has a significant head start. In addition, VMWwares proprietary virtualization solution has been on the market since 2001, and Microsoft is now competing in this space as well.
Whos on the management team? Benny Schnaider, co-founder and CEO, previously was CEO of PentaCom, which was acquired by Cisco in 2000, after which he held a management position at Cisco Systems Israel. Rami Tamir, co-founder, president and VP of R&D, was formerly a founding team member of PentaCom and held a management position with Cisco Systems Israel.
Moshe Bar, co-founder and CTO, was previously founder and CTO of XenSource and co-founded and CTO of Qlusters. Giora Yaron, Ph.D, co-founder and chairman of the board, previously co-founded a group of data center virtualization and networking startups, including ExaNet, P-cube, PentaCom, and Comsys Communication and Signal Processing.