Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.1 edges closer to vSphere, Hyper-V

Red Hat's new release features improvements to snapshots, cloning, storage migration with live virtual machines, and more

Open source software application provider Red Hat has released an update to its Enterprise Virtualization platform, bringing it to version 3.1. This is the first major refresh to the platform since the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) 3.0 release back in January of this year.

With the announcement of RHEV 3.1, Red Hat moves up a few more rungs on the enterprise-ready virtualization ladder and narrows the gap with key competitor virtualization platforms from VMware and Microsoft. According to Red Hat's statement, the 3.1 release brings with it a series of compelling new features to enhance its scalability, user administration and management interface, networking, storage, and virtual desktop functionality.

[ Also on InfoWorld: VMware vCenter Server 5.1 will soon support Microsoft Hyper-V servers | Microsoft turns the tables on VMware's cost calculator | Track the latest trends in virtualization in InfoWorld's Virtualization Report newsletter. ]

Red Hat is positioning its virtualization offering as the "only mission-critical end-to-end, open source virtualization infrastructure designed for enterprise users that is available today."

To show off its raw power, Red Hat points to the fact that the platform's Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor currently holds 19 of the 27 published SPECvirt_sc2010 performance benchmarks. That includes the best 2- and 4-socket scores, perhaps the most common host server type, as well as the only published 8-socket scores, showing off enterprise readiness for large organizations.

Red Hat also claims that its virtualization platform pricing is 50 to 70 percent less than alternative solutions currently on the market, giving RHEV a significant economic advantage over other players. It seems Microsoft isn't the only virtualization vendor playing the pricing card against the competition.

Some of the features found in Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.1 include a new and improved user interface, an improved cross-platform Web administration portal, an updated reporting dashboard, and new networking capabilities.

RHEV 3.1 also continues to improve on the hypervisor platform's scalability by increasing the total number of guest virtual machines each host server can run. With this latest release, RHEV can support up to 160 logical CPUs, up from 64 in the previous release. It also increases support for up to 2TB of memory per virtual machine. The KVM hypervisor has also been updated to support the latest industry-standard x86 processors such as Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 CPUs, as well as AMD 15h or Opteron G4 CPUs.

The new release expands its localization enablement with support for English, French, Spanish, simplified Chinese, and Japanese, enabling the platform to be used even more widely around the globe.

Without taking anything away from these updates, Red Hat has really moved the needle on RHEV 3.1 with the addition of two other key features that makes the platform more enterprise-ready and brings it closer to feature parity with the virtualization giant, VMware.

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