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Red Hat Virtualization: Product Overview and Insight

By Drew Robb (Send Email)
Posted February 28, 2019


See the full list of best server virtualization software.

Bottom line

Although Red Hat does virtualize Windows, the company is focused on the Linux market. Red Hat's open source credentials – second to none – make it well-suited to open source environments. Those customers already adopting Red Hat in the enterprise for servers, desktops and storage are unlikely to look elsewhere due to the integration benefits.

The Red Hat virtualization product is a mature offering, having entered the market early. As such, it offers a range of toolsets that cater to businesses of many sizes. So while Red Hat's offering is robust enough for larger enterprises, it offers a fit for SMBs as well. A top choice for many types of data centers.

Product description

Red Hat Virtualization is an open, software-defined platform that virtualizes Linux and Microsoft Windows workloads. Built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), it features management tools that virtualize resources, processes, and applications. It can also help standardize storage, infrastructure, and networking resources while improving workload performance and efficiency.

Red Hat Virtualization can be deployed on top of an existing x86 infrastructure. It easily integrates with other Red Hat products. Red Hat Virtualization Manager provides a centralized management system with a search-driven graphical interface. A system dashboard provides a global-use overview of central processing units (CPUs), memory, and storage host resources. A self-hosted engine enables built-in high availability for Red Hat Virtualization Manager, which is deployed as a virtual appliance.

Bare metal provisioning is supported via Red Hat Satellite and scale out in public cloud environments can be achieved through customers “bringing their own” Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Red Hat Virtualization Hypervisor subscriptions via Red Hat Cloud Access. Scale up and down guests are supported through dynamic reconfiguration as well as hot add/remove functionality for compute, memory, disk and network resources.

“Red Hat provided a more consistent environment and prevented desktops issues, which could be hard to diagnose issues on and provide support for. It also increased security and ultimately ended up saving a significant amount money for the company,” said a Developer in a software startup. 

Servers/Operating systems

Windows and Linux

Implementation

No complex command-line skills are required. Installation is streamlined by the Red Hat Virtualization Host hypervisor appliance, which deploys with Red Hat-recommended security practices. A variety of options are available to make installation simpler).

Red Hat Virtualization includes Red Hat Virtualization graphical installer, Red Hat Cockpit, and Red Hat Satellite for bare metal deployment). Users can automate the configuration of the environment and the deployment of VMs with Red Hat Ansible Automation.

Scalability

Red Hat Virtualization Manager can scale to up to 400 hosts, with a maximum tested workload of 1 VM per GB.

Large physical server size - tested 768 CPUs, 12 TB RAM with a maximum of theoretical 2,048 CPUs, 64 TB RAM.

Overhead

Many uses cases see 5% or less total overhead. However, it can add up to 20% overhead depending on configuration, and workload requirements for system resources.

Management

Includes: elastic metrics/logs store with Kibana visualization; cluster workload balancer; system dashboard provides a global-use overview of CPUs, memory, and storage host resources; a self-hosted engine enables built-in high availability for Red Hat Virtualization Manager as a virtual appliance; Red Hat CloudForms offers VM, cluster and data center level configuration and management; and Red Hat Satellite provides infrastructure, component level updates, upgrades and guest updates.

All Red Hat Virtualization Manager console features can be automated via Red Hat Ansible Automation modules and roles (included with Red Hat Virtualization distribution and entitlement). The Ansible automation helps to:

  • Remove manual steps from deployment and reconfiguration.
  • Streamline operations and free up resources to focus on strategic initiatives.
  • Provide a single support stack for for virtualization and automation.
  • Supports (and includes) Ansible Automation roles for Red Hat Virtualization.

Red Hat Virtualization Manager offers a REST API to enable any application to create, manage, and consume virtual resources in the hosting environment.  Users are able to use the language of their choice to automate tasks. All host, cluster, virtual machine, and other entities are manageable via the API.

“Red Hat is currently being used in one department and we will be making the switch from VMware. Red Hat Virtualization is a really efficient VDI solution and we may end up using it for more departments prior to full enterprise wide deployment. It has been reliable and easy to use with its control via the Web UI and no need for an installed application,” said an IT Engineer in a non-profit.

Patching/Backup

  • Maintenance releases every six weeks.  
  • Native active-passive, active-active disaster recovery features for local and distributed data center deployments.
  • Support for third-party tools through a Representational State Transfer (REST) API that backs up, restores, and replicates VMs and infrastructure data, Red Hat Virtualization Backup API, and Red Hat’s partner ecosystem.

Migration

  • Red Hat Virtualization enables scheduling policies to be applied across all clusters. This uses live migration to automatically load balance based on policy.
  • VMs can be migrated manually or automated.
  • In the event of host failure, VMs can be restarted automatically by Red Hat Virtualization Manager according to priority.
  • Live storage migration is also available to support storage backend maintenance

Security

  • Secure virtualization (sVirt) and Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) harden the hypervisor against attacks aimed at the host or virtual machines (VMs).
  • Additional security features and capabilities include:
  • FIPS certification
  • Support for kerberos-based single sign-on (SSO)
  • Support centralized logging
  • Support for attestation with Secure Content Automation Protocol (SCAP)
  • Support for auditing security events
  • Cryptographic agility without recompiling

Key Markets

Red Hat Virtualization is used primarily by system administrators in highly-scaled deployments that require a high server density due to cost and budget constraints. These verticals include:

  • Healthcare/Insurance
  • Financial Services
  • Manufacturing
  • Public Sector and Government
  • Transportation
  • Oil & Gas
  • Telecommunications Service Providers

Cost

The Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization subscription includes both workstations and server virtualization. Each subscription costs $999/per managed hypervisor socket pair each year for business-hour (standard) support.

“It's currently being used across the organization. It includes all the enterprise-grade features for a less overall TCO as compared to something like VMware's offerings. It's easy to use, manage, and provision and has rock-solid reliability. It's backed with the best support in the industry and uses KVM Virtualization under the hood which is used all throughout the industry by some of the top names (AWS and Rackspace to name a couple),” said the CEO of a small business.

Red Hat Virtualization is used primarily by system administrators in highly-scaled deployments that require a high server density due to cost and budget constraints. These verticals include:

Product

Red Hat Virtualization

Platforms

x86

Scalability

up to 400 hosts

Overhead %

5 to 20

Markets

highly-scaled deployments with budget constraints.

Cost

$999/per managed hypervisor socket pair each year

Migration

 Drag and drop or command line

Key Differentiator

Market leader in virtualization

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