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Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization's Next Test

Dave Courbanou

March 30, 2010

3 Min Read
Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization's Next Test

Red Hat made a lot of noise with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) back in November 2009. But the open source company has been pretty quiet about RHEV since that time. Until now. Arriving this week is RHEV Beta 2.2 — with a bunch of new features. More than a server strategy, RHEV also has key implications on the desktop. Here’s why.

For a quick refresher, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization “includes a standalone hypervisor based on Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technology and comprehensive server virtualization management tools.”

So what’s new in 2.2.? First up, 2.2 has introduced virtual desktop support, meaning that RHEV now supports both a virtual server, and a virtual desktop environment from the same management platform.

There’s new importing and exporting features too. In Beta 2.2. you can import and export virtual machine images and templates, all via Open Virtualization Format, or OVF (which we noted Siemens for adopting as well). In theory, that means much easier swapping, moving and publishing of all environments.

A common feature we’re seeing lately is the ability to convert physical machines to a variety of formats, be it physical or virtual. But RHEV has adopted yet a different kind of conversion technology. Dubbed V2V, Red Hat has built this tool to automate the conversion of VMware or Xen virtual machines into an OVF file. It’s nearly sneaky, but awfully smart — the gateway is now open to adopt a stream of virtual machine presets and templates from all over the place…well, eventually anyway.

As of now only Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, 4, or 5 VM’s from VMware or Xen are able to be converted fully. But Red Hat plans on V2V to support Windows XP, 2003 and 2008 soon in future beta release. This blogger hopes for an eventual adoption of more than Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Windows eventually too.

Of course, what virtualization suite would be complete without some data management? Called the “data warehouse,” RHEV Manager includes an ability to monitor data and storage coming from the VMs and simultaneously analyze and report on how data is used. (It also supports SQL queries).

Speed enhancements come with the new features too, including a jump up to 256GB of memory allowed for each virtual machine. Red Hat says it’s an amount “we believe should allow even the most memory-intensive enterprise workloads to be virtualized.” This blogger agrees. There’s also bumped I/O performance for disks

The hypervisor also got a little update with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 kernel. Users can now exploit the latest in hardware like Intel Nehalem-EX and AMD Opteron 6000

The best part is? It’s all available today… at least in beta form.

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