Red Hat's Virtualization Technology Rev

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Mar 31, 2010


It's been less than six months since Red Hat launched its virtualization platform, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV). In that time, the virtualization platform has been increasing momentum, including a inking a major deal with Big Blue earlier this month. RHEV will be the underlying virtualization technology in IBM's new cloud.

Virtually Speaking: Red Hat has announced an update for its virtualization technology suite. Is it time to add Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization to your short list?

This week, Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) released the beta of RHEV version of 2.2. InternetNews.com reports that as of this release, RHEV can support up to 256 GB of memory for a virtual machine (a four-fold increase over the 64 GB that RHEV supported in November). It will also support desktop and server virtualization management.

Interoperability, an issue with the previous version, has also been increased. Users can now import and export Open Virtualization Format (OVF) virtual machines using RHEV. OVF is an industry-standard specification developed by a number of vendors including VMware, Citrix, HP, IBM and Microsoft. Support for OVF means Red Hat has a much bigger pool, as users will be able to move virtual machines across different virtual environments. It will also facilitate a smoother migration.

As InternetNews explains, RHEV 2.2 will use a tool called V2V, which is a virtual machine conversion application. V2V will then convert the VMware or Xen image into OVF, which can then be used with RHEV 2.2.

The one thorn on the 2.2 rose is that the RHEV the Management Server component, which provides virtualization management capabilities to the KVM hypervisor, still requires users to be running Microsoft's Windows Server.

While it sounds like the ultimate irony, at the time of release last November, Andy Cathrow, product marketing manager for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, said, "We spent a lot of time talking to customers to see what their view was on this and I think with the possible exception of Red Hat, everyone has some Windows in their data center."

Ironic, no?

In other words, pure Linux shops looking to get started with virtualization are the only organizations for which this is an issue. And clearly it has not throttled interest in RHEV, especially as Red Hat shifts its focus toward the cloud.

Still, Red Hat didn't become the No. 1 Linux player by accident. It knows where its fans are, and although their hands may be touching a Windows Server now and then, their hearts are with Linux. Thus, when version 3 ships later this year, it will no longer require Windows. For now, Red Hat has applied an HTML front-end that functions as a Band-Aid. In some ways the addition is more along the lines of a PR than a feature bump, but not having a product that runs on your own platform, is an illogical long-term move.

Despite Red Hat's relatively late entrance into the virtualization game, it is picking up a great deal of steam. No longer does it belong in the "other" category.

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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