Red Hat Revs While VMware Takes to the Streets

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Feb 10, 2010

KVM has been part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux since the release of version 5.4 back in September. At the time, the new KVM virtualization base was big news. It's still an important part of the OS. So much so that now Red Hat is further expanding with RHEL 5.5, which it released to beta on Wednesday. The key enhancement is a new run-time memory allocation feature for KVM virtual guests that allows them guests to obtain extra memory as required, and thus not "be stuck with a fixed amount of memory, as Internetnews reports.

Virtually Speaking: VMware is taking its virtualization message to the streets with its partners, while Red Hat is taking a quieter and more traditional approach.

This will mitigate many of the I/O issues frequently associated with virtualization. For an organization for which I/O is a significant pain point, having it resolved natively may prove to be a sufficient advantage.

The other virtualization improvement Internetnews notes is PCI passthrough, which "enables a virtual operating system to see and utilize a computer's PCI devices as though they were physically attached. With RHEL 5.5, Red Hat has improved support for PCI passthrough on both AMD and Intel chipsets."

Red Hat has gotten a fair amount of press for its approach to virtualization. While many are busy sounding the death knell of the traditional operating system and see the hypervisor as the wave of the future, Red Hat has instead integrated virtualization functionality into the OS itself. It's still too soon to determine how and where this approach will win out.

While Red Hat is busy rolling functionality in, VMware was busy this week branching out at the third annual VMware Partner Exchange in Las Vegas, an event not to be confused with the perennially popular VMworld.

More than 2,600 attendees are attending this week's show, and 55 sponsors, including Cisco, EMC, HP, Ingram Micro, Intel, NetApp, Novell, and Trend Micro, are on hand to explain why their solutions coupled with VMware's are ""

Ironically, the announcement that seems to be getting the most attention is the VMware Express, or VMware's world tour -- locations to be announced next week. The truck will be touring the United States showing off "the capabilities and flexibility of the VMware View desktop virtualization solution." Also on board will be vSphere and vCenter. And because VMware has clearly figured out that going it alone is akin to a fool's errand, among the groupies will be Cisco, Dell, EMC, NetApp and Xsiogo.

By getting as many partners involved in its road trip VMware is able to broaden its reach in a cost-effective manner. It is also a sweet deal for enterprises already using these products or others that integrate easily. For those looking for a more open solution, however, Red Hat's offering may be just the ticket.

Ultimately, however, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to virtualization and no reason the two can't coexist, even within the same enterprise.

Amy Newman is the managing editor of ServerWatch and Enterprise IT Planet. She has been covering virtualization since 2001, and is the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, published by Pearson in October 2009.

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