Friday, August 19, 2011

Red Hat Virtualization No Longer Windows Exclusive

Red Hat logoConsidering that it's a Linux Vendor, it isn't a surprise that Red Hat obviously wants its customers to run its technologies on Linux. However, when it comes to the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) management system, customers have always been forced to run the system on Microsoft Windows. However, that is all about to change.

According to Navin Thadani, Senior Director of Red Hat's Virtualization Business, "The management system has been re-written as a Java app that runs on top of a RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) server. So we've removed the Microsoft Windows server dependency."

Thadani did note that RHEV will still support Active Directory for authentication work. Now the system uses the open source PostgreSQL database as well. The new RHEV update is said to be a zero-downtime upgrade according to Thadani. In addition to that, the new Windows-free management piece will not cost anything extra other than that which Red Hat has previously charged for the RHEV versions that had Windows dependencies.

"The way we price RHEV is that we don't charge for the management system separately," Thadani added. "Ours is a single price for the management system and the hypervisor baked into a dollars-per-socket, per-year price." Thadani also added that enterprises just need to count the number of CPU sockets they will use and that is how much they will pay. Thadani also added that he believes that Red Hat's pricing can be 1/7 the cost of VMware. VMware recently changed its pricing model for vSphere. Pricing is now based on virtual RAM allocations.

In addition to the new management server, the other major change in RHEV 3.0 is a new version of KVM. KVM is the core virtualization hypervisor that powers the solution. According to Thadani, "We've replaced the underlying hypervisor to the new KVM that's going to be shipping in RHEL 6.2. With that, we've picked up performance enhancements, including Transparent Huge Pages for database performance, paravirtualized interrupt controllers, async I/O and an entire rewrite of the networking infrastructure."

Thadani also explained that the networking stack has also been moved from userspace to kernel space to deliver better performance to users. Now, the system can scale up to 128 CPUs with 2TB of RAM at the host level, providing for larger virtual machines.
In addition to that, Red Hat is making it easier to provision and deploy new virtual machines as well as create templates and make virtual machines. There is also a new built-in reporting infrastructure that leverages an embedded Jasper Reports engine.

RHEV is not all about server virtualization exclusively, there is also a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) component as well. "We've made improvements to VDI in the area of WAN optimization," Thadani added. The last major release of RHEV was when version 2.2 was released in 2010. When asked about number of customers, Thadani stated, "We've got many, many customers around the world and across industry segments." RHEV 3.0 is currently in beta testing with general availability slated for the end of this year.

Source: Server Watch - Red Hat Revs up Virtualization, Without Windows

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