Can Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Overtake VMware?

Dave Courbanou

August 6, 2010

3 Min Read
Can Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Overtake VMware?

VMware is the best-known provider of virtualization. But there seems to be growing buzz about Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV), which is based on the KVM open source foundation. We’re checking in with both Red Hat and VMware to get their take on the competitive landscape. In this blog entry, I share Red Hat’s perspective. Next time, I’ll be back with VMware’s thoughts. Here’s a look.

I spoke to Navin Thadani, senior director of virtualization business at Red Hat. He started off with a bullet-pointed list of RHEV supported features, like high availability, live migration, system scheduling, load balancing and more. But I wanted to get into the nitty gritty: Why did Red hat bet on KVM?

Thadani said it comes down to Linux and the Kernel. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization comes with an infrastructure that provides isolation and virtualization, which is important for the overall security of the system. But more than that, he simply expressed that Linux as a base provided a hugely supportive backbone in all aspects of the virtualization solution.

Thadani stressed that it was also the ecosystem.

“Because we leverage RHEV heavily in the KVM architecture [we] pickup the large RHEL ecosystem for hardware and ISVs [so we can] run on more than 1,000 certified hardware platforms right out of the gate [and] any hardware for RHEL and any server certified for RHEL5 can run the RHEV hypervisor and is [automatically] an ideal candidate…”

Translation? Red Hat sees Linux and RHEV as a killer combo.

He elaborated…

“If an ISV is [developing and deploying] on top of RHEL [he can then easily] go to RHEV [and] we support [it] end to end. [This way,] the enterprise has comfort in deploying applications in production on Red Hat Virtualzation and we feel this is a big advantage.”

So what’s in it for VARs?

“[There’s an] economic aspect here. [Our] software costs less than VMware. Money that’s saved gets spread between more servers and services in deal, [overall allowing a VAR to] make more money.”

In the Chips

Also of note, microprocessors are gaining virtualization capabilities which further drives down end-user costs. Thadani’s key point: VMware’s propriety software initially made use of binary translation for virtualization (nearly all software-level), but KVM in the Linux Kernel now taps into the CPU’s natural ability to perform virtualization functions.

Still, it’s important to keep Thadani’s assertions in perspective. Generally speaking, VMware continues to be the market-leading virtualization platform. The VMworld conference (Aug. 30-Sept. 2) is the single largest event focused on the virtualization industry. And Red Hat has taken a few lumps because some partners and customers say RHEV can’t yet match VMware’s management tools.

All that said, Red Hat seems to be gaining buzz with RHEV.

Next up, we’re checking in with VMware for their side of the story.

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