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How Live Patching Has Improved Xen Virtualization

Thursday Jan 18th 2018 by Sean Michael Kerner

VIDEO: Lars Kurth details how live patching has helped improve security and what exciting new capabilities have landed in the open-source virtualization technology.

The open-source Xen virtualization hypervisor is widely deployed by enterprises and cloud providers alike, which benefit from the continuous innovation that the project delivers.

In a video interview with ServerWatch, Lars Kurth, Chairman of the Xen Project Advisory Board and Director, Open Source Solutions at Citrix, details some of the recent additions to Xen and how they are helping move the project forward.

Among the capabilities Xen currently has is the ability to do live patching. The promise of live patching is that a system can remain online and available while a security patch is being deployed. Live patching first began to make its way into Xen in 2016 with the 4.7 release and has steadily improved since then.

"Live patching is one of the things that our community members, hosting and cloud providers really like," Kurth said. "In the last year, all the fixes for vulnerabilities were live patchable."

The Xen 4.10 release that debuted in December 2017 includes support for PVHv2 DomU (Paravirtualization Hardware). The new PVHv2 is an optimized codebase that improves both security and performance.

Kurth is also particularly interested in the use of Xen for embedded deployments, including automotive use-cases.

Watch the full video interview with Lars Kurth below:

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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