It is being reported that Red Hat plans on launching its new virtualization portfolio at the beginning of September. And the announcement should be made just in time for the VMworld 2009 event taking place this year in San Francisco.
VMworld events have been a major stage for company announcements around virtualization products, even for those outside of the VMware ecosystem. Who can forget all the chatter and noise made during VMworld Europe back in February when Citrix dropped the bombshell news about Citrix XenServer becoming free and Citrix unveiling a version of Essentials for Microsoft Hyper-V? And what about the controversy around Microsoft Hyper-V being cheaper than VMware VI3 during VMworld 2008 in Las Vegas?
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With all virtualization eyes and ears pointed toward these largest-of-large virtualization shows, it's no wonder that virtualization companies choose to make many of their announcements during these events currently held twice a year. But taking away focus from VMware's own offerings could also be one of the reasons why VMware isn't too keen on having competitor products and companies in the spotlight during its event.
But unlike VMware competitors Citrix and Microsoft, it looks as though Red Hat is going to be allowed to participate as a Gold Sponsor at VMworld 2009. Even though the company's Linux operating system is a supported guest OS in VMware's ESX platform, Red Hat is instead looking to the KVM technology as its virtualization platform of choice. Since Red Hat acquired Qumranet last September, they've made a strategic decision to use KVM as its core virtualization technology and are building a suite of virtualization tools to accompany it.
Some of the news coming out of the beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.4 is its full support for the KVM hypervisor and support for a range of guest operating systems such as RHEL (versions 3-5) and Microsoft Windows (XP, Server 2003, and Server 2008). Both 32- and 64-bit guest operating systems run without modification. And paravirtualized disk and network drivers are going to be provided to enhance I/O performance. However, KVM does require processors with virtualization technology such as Intel-VT and AMD-V to be present.
In addition, all libvirt based tools such as virsh, virt-install, and virt-manager will support KVM. And although still in Technology Preview, the KVM hypervisor can run in conjunction with cluster suite which has been upgraded to enable automatic hypervisor detection.
Red Hat still has another two months before it has to tell its full KVM virtualization story, but for now you can find out more about RHEL 5.4 beta via the release notes.