Red Hat Unveils Virtualization Portfolio

The company's upcoming server software also could serve as building blocks for a future cloud computing strategy.

Ed Scannell, Contributor

February 24, 2009

3 Min Read

On the heels of its virtualization deal with Microsoft earlier this month, Red Hat unveiled plans to deliver four products over the next three to 18 months, starting midyear, that it hopes will convince corporate users to deploy open source-based virtualization in mission-critical environments.

The new products are designed to largely bolster the company's server, client, and management stable of offerings. Speaking about the strategic ramifications of the new and products, officials said they could serve as fundamental building blocks for its broader cloud computing strategy.

The intent of the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization offerings is to provide a set of solutions that allows a wide range of enterprise workloads to operate within a single common infrastructure, company officials said.

The portfolio consists of four major pillars: Red Hat Enterprise Linux featuring KVM, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Servers, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Desktops, and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor.

In describing Red Hat Enterprise Linux, company officials did make one notable announcement. They said all future development of its virtualization products would be based on KVM. They claimed this decision makes Red Hat the only virtualization vendor using technology that is part of the Linux operating system. Existing Xen-based deployments will continue to be supported over the course of Red Hat Enterprise 5's life span, they said.

Red Hat will supply tools and services that make it possible for corporate IT shops to migrate from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Xen deployments over to KVM, company officials said.

In providing some technical details of the upcoming products, company officials said the Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Servers is a management solution for servers that will supply integrated management across both virtual servers and virtual desktops. It will contain live migration, a system scheduler, power management, and an image manager.

The Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Desktops, also a management system, is capable of delivering VDI for both Linux and Windows desktops. The product is based on Qumranet's SolidICE.

The Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor is a standalone hypervisor designed for use primarily by Red Hat's partners and customers for the purpose of laying down a lightweight virtualization foundation for guest environments. At Monday's press conference, company officials noted that while the adoption rate of virtualization products and technologies continues to quicken, market research also documents that a good number of users have yet to deploy virtualization as part of mission-critical applications. Red Hat hopes the upcoming offerings can soften corporate users' remaining reservations.

"With this set of virtualization solutions, we think Red Hat can break through barriers to lift the limitations placed on virtualization and cloud computing for today's enterprises," said Paul Cormier, executive VP and president, products and technologies, at Red Hat.

"Every time the open source community has offered credible offerings as alternatives to proprietary products, the industry has accepted it," said Navin Thadani, senior director of virtualization business, adding that he thinks the new offerings can achieve such credibility.

Red Hat debuted virtualization in a core operating system since its release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. Last September, the company acquired Qumranet, which possessed KVM, SolidICE/Spice, and management technologies.

Longtime partners IBM and Intel were quick to endorse the new offerings, believing it will give their respective products a boost, specifically IBM's System x series of servers and Intel's Intel Virtualization Technology and line of Xeon processors.

How else is Red Hat transforming itself? InformationWeek has published an independent analysis of this topic. Download the report here (registration required).

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