Desktop Virtualization: Here Comes Red Hat
When it comes to the mainstream desktop Linux market, Red Hat has mostly sat on the sidelines — letting folks like Canonical (Ubuntu) and Google (Chrome OS) pursue the spotlight. But now, Red Hat is making some serious desktop moves. But not in a traditional way. Here’s the strategy — and its implications for channel partners.
Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops, currently in private beta and set for a 2010 debut, is a rather simple concept:
With Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops, complete desktop environments are hosted as virtual desktops on servers located in a centralized datacenter. Users connect to these virtual desktops using either inexpensive thin clients or repurposed PCs.
A Matter of Trust?
But here’s the twist: CIOs already trust Red Hat’s server-centric offerings while Canonical’s Ubuntu Server Edition efforts are just getting started. Also, Red Hat has a fairly mature channel partner program — where VARs are looking for The Next Big Thing. Not by coincidence, many pundits think desktop virtualization is the Next Big Thing.
Of course, it’s too early to say whether Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops will be a hit or a miss. But Red Hat isn’t resting on its laurels. To wit, Red Hat has open sourced the SPICE hosted virtual desktop protocol, which Red Hat acquired with the 2008 Qumranet buyout.
According to a Red Hat spokeswoman:
SPICE is a core piece of the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops product that is currently in beta. Open sourcing SPICE shows Red Hat’s commitment to the open source model and enables the community to drive virtualization forward with Red Hat.
Twice the Impact?
Translation: Red Hat could rally two core communities to support Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops…
- Channel partners, many of whom are at an inflection point — trying to decide whether to recommend Windows 7 upgrades or emerging alternatives. (Microsoft, by the way, also is talking up Windows 7 desktop virtualization.)
- Open source pundits who jump on the SPICE bandwagon.
Is desktop virtualization the next big opportunity for Red Hat partners? The VAR Guy will keep poking around for answers.