SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Adrian Bridgwater, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman

Related Topics: Virtualization

Virtualization: Press Release

No Re-boot Kernel Updates Comes to Virtual Servers

KernelCare automatically updates Parallels Virtuozzo Containers kernel with no need to re-boot

It is now possible to apply automated security patches to virtual servers, as well as physical hosts, without having to re-boot. CloudLinux announced today that KernalCare now supports Parallels Virtuozzo Containers making it easier to maintain the highest levels of security with real-time updates and ensure uptime since no re-booting is necessary.

With KernelCare, patches are done automatically as soon as they become available, while the machine continues to run - no delay, no downtime. KernelCare checks every four hours for updates to the Parallels Virtuozzo Containers kernel and applies those as necessary to avoid vulnerabilities. KernelCare loads patches using one module for greatest efficiency with no impact on performance since updates take only nanoseconds.

For example, on June 6 a major kernel vulnerability became known (local privilege escalation vulnerability CVE-2014-3153) forcing administrators to scramble to re-boot servers outside the regular maintenance window. However, the next day, CloudLinux released a patch - ahead of most distribution vendors releasing new kernels - so that KernelCare fixed the issue without involving administrators.

KernelCare is quickly gaining popularity. Since its introduction one month ago, CloudLinux has sold more than 2,000 licenses of KernelCare to hosting providers and enterprises for use in their data centers.

The cost for KernelCare is less than one-third of another product, Ksplice, which had been offered previously and is now part of Oracle Linux Premier Support. The monthly subscription price of KernelCare ranges from $1.50 to $2.95 per server.

"By taking the pain out of applying the latest kernel security updates that come out every one to two months, KernelCare is the perfect complement to Parallels Virtuozzo Containers," said John Zanni, chief marketing officer, Parallels. "Live kernel patching without re-booting is a dream come true for administrators."

With operating system-level server virtualization, also known as containers, there is a high-level of efficiency with only one kernel so only one KernelCare license is required. The web hosting industry commonly uses Parallels Virtuozzo Containers because of its ability to securely allocate finite hardware resources among a large number of virtual servers - making maximum use of server hardware with very little overhead.

Blacknight Internet Solutions, based in Ireland, uses Parallels Virtuozzo Containers extensively in its technology infrastructure and is an early user of KernelCare. "We spend a lot of time keeping servers up to date and re-booting them several times a year, which meant service outages for customers, but happily we'll be putting all that behind us," said Paul Kelly, chief technology officer and co-founder, of Blacknight. "Installation of KernelCare for testing took just seconds and operation has been completely smooth so we'll be rolling out several hundred servers in the coming weeks."

"The combination of Parallels Virtuozzo Containers and KernelCare adds to a new level of data center efficiency and for hosting companies means less disruption to customers," said Igor Seletskiy, CEO of CloudLinux. "Leaving behind the hassles of planned downtime notifications will save countless hours."

Availability and Pricing
KernelCare is available via monthly subscription with ordering instructions at http://kernelcare.com/pricing.php. The kernel module is released under GPL2 (download at http://patches.kernelcare.com/kmod_kcare.tar.gz) while other components are distributed in binary-only format under license. KernelCare is now available for CentOS 6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6, CloudLinux OS 6 and OpenVZ (64-bit only).

In the next six weeks, CloudLinux plans to add support for RHEL 7. And, within the next 60 days, it plans support for Debian and Ubuntu, as well as CentOS 5, RHEL 5, CloudLinux OS 5.

About CloudLinux
CloudLinux, founded in 2009, is a privately-held company with headquarters in Princeton, N.J. and development based in Donetsk, Ukraine. The company has technical expertise in kernel development with customers that include 2,000 service providers worldwide. Its CloudLinux OS is used on more than 18,000 servers for increased server stability and security, which brings far greater efficiency to Web host providers. For more information, visit www.cloudlinux.com.

More Stories By Glenn Rossman

Glenn Rossman has more than 25 years communications experience working at IBM and Hewlett-Packard, along with startup StorageApps, plus agencies Hill & Knowlton and G&A Communications. His experience includes media relations, industry and financial analyst relations, executive communications, intranet and employee communications, as well as producing sales collateral. In technology, his career includes work in channel partner communications, data storage technologies, server computers, software, PC and UNIX computers, along with specific industry initiatives such as manufacturing, medical, and finance. Before his latest stint in technology, Glenn did business-to-business public relations on behalf of the DuPont Company for its specialty polymers products and with the largest steel companies in North America in an initiative focused on automakers.

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