The announcement this week that Red Hat and Cisco are working together to integrate Cisco's Virtual Network Link with Red hat Enterprise Virtualization adds significant value to the datacenter simplification promise that Cisco wants to deliver with its Unified Computing initiative and products.
Tight integration between the Cisco Virtual Interface Card and the Red Hat kernel-based VM hypervisor will give customers the control of a consistent virtualized network that can be managed, implemented and deployed through either vendor's virtual management tools. You can get the full details in the Red hat press release here.
So what does this mean to Cisco's primary competitor in the converged networks space, HP? HP and Red Hat have a partnership going back almost a decade in delivering enterprise Linux solutions, but Red Hat also formally announced that it was dropping support for Intel's Itanium processor, the heart of HP's top-end server systems as of Enterprise Linux 6, Red Hat's flagship operating system.
Granted, x64 servers are a much larger market for HP than their Itanium-based Superdomes, but Red Hat Linux is a premier player on large scale enterprise Linux deployments, with many of those customers also targets for the HP high-end servers. And Linux is a growing market for enterprise servers in the US.
So what is HP doing? At the HP Tech Forum in Las Vegas this week, HP announced many partnerships with vendors of virtualization software and a focus on a complete desktop virtualization infrastructure, which it described as the next step in its converged infrastructure approach. And once of the partner announcements was Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2, which as well as being able to support virtualized Windows and Linux servers, also includes Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops, which allows for the deployment of a full virtual desktop infrastructure.
So it looks like HP continues their partnership with Red Hat, and while Cisco's take on the converged infrastructure market continues its focus on gaining ground in server technology and deployment, HP is taking advantage of their existing presence in the server market to focus energies on the emerging technologies of desktop virtualization. And so the battle continues.