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Red Hat's KVM Surpasses Xen, Aims at VMWare - page 2

Xen Destined for the Scrap Heap

  • October 28, 2009
  • By Paul Rubens
The full RHEL 5.4 with KVM is targeted at enterprises familiar with Linux, and those that perhaps already have their own hardened RHEL build, with customized boot scripts, and so on.

RHEV is aimed at comparative Linux newbie organizations that simply want to boot a system and start running virtual machines on it.

This sounds simple, but Thadani then goes on to complicate matters. "If you want to run primarily Linux guests, then it will make sense to use RHEL with KVM. But if you are planning a mixed environment of Windows and Linux guests, then it will make sense to buy the RHEV hypervisor as it will be cheaper to get the 'thin' product. The reasoning behind this is not obvious, but Thadani promises it will become clearer when pricing information is announced.

One of the strengths that makes VMware a formidable competitor in the virtualization space is its comprehensive management infrastructure. While Thadani promises a highly sophisticated one as well - in the shape of its Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Servers suite - it's doubtful it will be as mature and well-rounded as VMware's offering. But Thadani is banking on the fact that in the longer term this will not matter because virtualization is becoming a central part of IT infrastructure in the data center. That means data center management systems supplied by systems vendors will have to incorporate virtual environments (including heterogeneous ones) as well as physical ones, he said. In other words, it will not be the responsibility of virtualization vendors to supply management software for their products because management systems like Microsoft's System Center or HP's OpenView (or whatever it is now branded) will have to be able to handle virtualization anyway.

There's one more part of Red Hat's KVM jigsaw puzzle that hasn't yet been mentioned, and that's Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Desktops. It's a system that enables VDI, using KVM to virtualize Linux and Windows desktops, along with a connection broker, SPICE rendering technology and other smarts that came with the Qumranet acquisition. It's a handy technology to have, but it remains to be seen whether VDI ever takes off to the degree many vendors hope.

As for KVM consigning Xen to the scrap heap, that too remains to be seen. Although RHEL 5.4 is available now, the full portfolio of Red Hat's KVM offerings is still under development and will not be available - along with pricing details - for several months at the earliest.

Paul Rubens is a journalist based in Marlow on Thames, England. He has been programming, tinkering and generally sitting in front of computer screens since his first encounter with a DEC PDP-11 in 1979.

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