Red Hat begins testing virtualisation line-up

Beta tests begin on the new line of virtualisation products based on Qumranet's KVM, which put Red Hat into direct competition with the likes of Citrix, Microsoft and VMware

Red Hat has begun beta-testing its new line of virtualisation products based on Qumranet's KVM hypervisor.

The tests are the next stage in development of the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) line-up, which was announced by the company in February. The RHEV portfolio includes a standalone hypervisor, RHEV-H, as well as virtualisation managers for servers and desktops. In its announcement earlier this year, Red Hat said the products would be made available within the following 18 months, which sets a deadline of August 2010.

"We are in a unique position to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of virtualisation solutions, ranging from a standalone hypervisor to a virtualised operating system to a comprehensive virtualisation management product suite," Scott Crenshaw, vice president of Red Hat's platform business unit, said in the beta-test announcement on Tuesday.

Red Hat's RHEV strategy puts the company into direct competition with Citrix. That company owns XenSource, which created and maintains Xen. Red Hat is also competing with companies such as Microsoft and VMware on virtualisation.

KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a native or 'bare metal' hypervisor that runs directly on x86-based host hardware, rather than running on top of an operating system. Red Hat is building the hypervisor into Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), starting with version 5.4. In addition, KVM will replace the previous virtualisation system, which was based on Xen, in Red Hat's products. However, the company will continue to support Xen-based deployments for the full lifetime of RHEL 5.

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Servers will allow management across virtual servers and virtual desktops. Its features include live migration, high availability, a system scheduler, a power manager, an image manager, snapshots, thin provisioning, monitoring and reporting. The management tool will be able to manage RHEL 5 hosts as well as RHEV-H, Red Hat said.

The Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Desktops is based on Qumranet's Solid ICE desktop virtualisation product and uses Qumranet's Spice remote rendering protocol. Red Hat bought Qumranet, the creator of KVM, for $107m (£66m) in September 2008.

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