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Red Hat Accelerates Open Source Virtualization in RHEV 3.1 Release

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted November 26, 2012


Red Hat is putting the final touches on the next major release of its Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) 3.1 platform.

RHEV 3.1 is currently in beta with an official release set to debut by the end of the year. The updated open source virtualization platform is set to include new live migration features that Red Hat will use to further the challenge against VMware.

The RHEV 3.1 release will be the first major update since the RHEV 3.0 release in January.

One of the major new additions set to make its debut in RHEV 3.1 is a Storage Live Migration feature. With Storage Live Migration, administrators can easily move virtualization storage across storage arrays.

The KVM virtualization hypervisor that is at the core of RHEV 3.1 also gets a boost with live snapshotting capabilities.

"You could do a live snapshot with KVM in the past, but there was nothing in place to ensure consistency and data intergrity," Andy Cathrow, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Red Hat, told ServerWatch.

Red Hat - RoundedIn Cathrow's view, the combination of Live Storage Migration and KVM snapshots addresses the last two issues that Red Hat was facing with VMware vSphere customers.

"There certainly is a checklist that some customers have, where they are able to do certain things with VMware and want to be able to do the same with RHEV," Cathrow said.

While RHEV 3.1 still might be lacking in some features that VMware includes by default, in Cathrow's view, those features aren't deal breakers. One feature that VMware vSphere provides over RHEV is the notion of host profiles.

"VMware has this idea that you apply a configuration profile that you apply to each of the hosts and that makes sure that all of the hosts are consistent," Cathrow said. "We don't have that feature in RHEV."

Instead RHEV has the concept of operational states that are inherited from a cluster. Cathrow noted that with RHEV, there is never the option to configure two hosts differently in the first place.

P2V

RHEV 3.1 also introduces a new physical-to-virtual machine tool to help users move from bare metal to the virtual world. Red Hat already offers tools to convert from the Xen hypervisor to KVM, but it was lacking a physical-to-virtual tool.

Cathrow explained that with RHEV 3.1 there is now an ISO image where a user can physically boot from a CD or USB, select the disks on the physical machine and then export the disk to convert it to a virtual machine.

A new quota system that can be used to put limits on users and groups is another key part of the RHEV 3.1 release. The quota system provides limits on storage, CPU and memory allocations.

For existing RHEV 3.0 users, there is a tool called RHEV-M update that will enable migration to RHEV 3.1.

"The automated tool backs up all the database and configuration files, and it validates that it can see all the new files," Cathrow said. "If anything fails, what the system does is it will rollback the update and restore the configuration to the database."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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