Red Hat embraced the virtualization market some time ago, starting with the open source Xen technology as part of the company's Enterprise Linux operating system. After focusing a lot of attention on the server side for some time now, Red Hat appears to be coming back around to the desktop side of the business.
The company decided to take a few chances in order to become more of a key player in the virtualization market. The first move was to shy away from the Xen technology in favor of supporting and embedding the KVM hypervisor inside its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution. The next step was acquiring Qumranet in September 2008. Doing so gave the company key ingredients: KVM, the SolidICE desktop virtualization platform, as well as the Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments (SPICE) remoting protocol.
[ Find out what AMD's Margaret Lewis has to say about the desktop virtualization market | And keep up with the latest virtualization news with InfoWorld's virtualization newsletter or visit the InfoWorld Virtualization Topic Center for news, blogs, essentials, and information about InfoWorld virtualization events. ]
SPICE is considered an alternative to Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), which is used to link PCs to remote desktops and servers. And the protocol is optimized to do a much better job at rendering multimedia audio and graphics -- a key to breaking down the barrier of desktop virtualization adoption. SPICE aims to provide the end-user with an experience that is comparable to using a physical desktop machine.
Remoting protocols are really beginning to take center stage. Because this technology is a key component to breaking into desktop virtualization, companies are scrambling to enhance and update existing remote technology in order to win end user acceptance of virtualization. Citrix has introduced ICA/HDX, Microsoft has updated RDP and is expected to update it further with technology acquired from Calista, and VMware is working with the technology from Teradici called PCoIP. An open source challenger in this market is certainly an interesting twist.