Red Hat Enters the Virtualization Ring

Red Hat, well known for its Linux based operating system and middleware now wants to be more of a player in the Virtualization market.

Red Hat has been putting out some hints towards its ambitions of server and desktop virtualization for some time now, most notably since acquiring Qumranet, the creator of the KVM, or kernel based virtual machine, virtualization hypervisor, which took place last September for US$107 million.

We have also seen last weeks announcement of the interoperability agreement with Microsoft  which would see Red Hat supporting Microsoft Windows based instances with its Xen and KVM hypervisors, and Microsoft to support Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) within its Hyper-V hypervisor. With all this going on, Red Hat decided it was time to explain what it was going to do with KVM.

Red Hat has now mapped out its server and desktop virtualization plans, which are to take place over the next 18 months with some commercialized products being delivered as well.

Brian Stevens, Chief technology officer for Red Hat mentioned “Red Hat is in a power position to set the agenda for virtualization”. Stevens did not comment much further as of current except that some of the commercialized product offerings would be called “Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization.” Stevens also mentioned partnering with Intel and IBM to bring this KVM-based technology to the market.

Originally, Red Hat invested most of its time to get the Xen hypervisor embedded inside RHEL 5, a project that was announced in November of 2005 and for delivery by late 2006. The projected was then pushed back by at least six months to March of 2007 since Xen was such a moving target at the time.

In early 2008 Red Hat decided to go with KVM because unlike Xen, KVM is part of the mainstream Linux kernel. This means developers could spend far less time reconciling the Linux kernel and the Xen hypervisor. This is the main reason that Red Hat is going to base its future virtualization strategies on KVM.

  • ossie
    Xen is a hypervisor with a bare microkernel on which VMs (windoze, linux, etc.) run. It dosen't need Linux or other OS-es to run.
    To "embed" it in Linux is kind of a nonsense, as Linux is (one of) the VM(s).

    KVM is actually Linux with hypervisor functionality included, on which other VMs can run.
    More Linux Distributions are jumping on the KVM bandwagon, including Ubuntu, for virtualisation.

    footnote: Linux is actually the kernel. The term is misused often to name a Linux Distribution or the OS ( = Linux + system utilities and libraries, aka GNU) which is correctly named Linux/GNU.
  • Humans think
    @ossie thanks for the info I was a little confused about what exactly was happening.
  • ossie
    @Human think: you're welcome
    A further clarification:
    To fully support the other VMs (domU), on Xen runs a privileged VM (dom0) which provides the interface services with the real HW, which the microkernel doesn't include.
    While initially Xen supported just Linux/GNU with a special kernel, there is also support for other OS-es as dom0.