Big Blue Bets Big on Red Hat's Virtualization Technology

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Mar 17, 2010


For a long time, IBM's allegiance when it came virtualization seemed to be to VMware. That has been slowly changing through the years as IBM, like so many others, recognizes the importance of giving customers choices. On Tuesday, IBM revealed it had chosen Red Hat to provide the underlying virtualization technology for its new cloud for developers.

Virtually Speaking: In the next battleground for the cloud, IBM's choice of Red Hat's virtualization technology may be changing the landscape, but don't count VMware out just yet.

The deal, Internetnews reports, is the third major cloud virtualization technology win for Red Hat this year, as it sets about staking a claim in the cloud computing market.

Perhaps this is a sign of things to come: VMware will own the virtual server market, most notably for midsize to large enterprises; Microsoft will lead for SMBs; Citrix will be king of the virtual desktop; and Red Hat will float along with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization in the cloud. Granted, there will be overlap and competition in all categories, but by and large, under this model everyone succeeds.

Maybe, but IBM doesn't anticipate the cloud being a big moneymaker any time soon; nor it is using Red Hat's virtualization portfolio, lock stock and barrel. It is using, as Scott Crenshaw, vice president and general manager of Red Hat's cloud business unit told InternetNews, "[IBM's] virtualization layer as a substrate to run all of their [the customer's] guests on, and they also offer RHEL as a guest."

Nor has VMware given up on the cloud, where it has been building an ambitious infrastructure for some time now. This week, it sweetened its cloud computing offering with functionality from integration and identity management solutions' provider Likewise Software.

Likewise, which is best known for its products delivering integration and authentication software for mixed networks, particularly those involving Microsoft Active Directory and Windows, Monday kicked off a technology licensing agreement with VMware, under which Likewise software will be directly integrated and included with vSphere.

According to Likewise, "the integration will enable VMware vSphere users to manage privileged user access with Microsoft Active Directory, providing large enterprises with a scalable means to improve authentication and access control in virtualized environments to help meet IT security audit requirements."

What this means is companies with end users who want to use Active directory from the cloud, but aren't using Windows, can securely authenticate from Linux, Unix and Mac OS. It also means that it has once again stayed ahead of Hyper-V.

And the battle for the cloud wages on.

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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