Yes, Red Hat is embracing Docker containers for application virtualization, but it's still strongly supporting Linux's built-in Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) in its just released Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) 3.4. After all, Red Hat sees both as bridges to an OpenStack cloud-based future.
In this latest RHEV release, Red Hat states that it brings new "enhancements for traditional virtualization infrastructure, guest support for the newly released Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7, as well as advanced OpenStack [cloud] support across compute, storage and networking."
To be exact, Red Hat claims that RHEV 3.4 comes with the following new features:
- Upgraded affinity/anti-affinity groups, enabling groups of virtual machines to run together on a single host, or independently across alternative hosts, to facilitate setting service levels for server load-balancing.
- Template versioning, allowing users to easily update templates for minor revisions and to use a parent template when provisioning a new virtual machine, making it ideal for virtual machine (VM) pools.
- Enhanced networking through a multi-host network configuration, providing a simple mechanism to update and synchronize network configurations across a large number of hosts. This upgraded configuration also simplifies provisioning and management of a large number of Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) within an environment.
- New Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) notification service within the RHEV 3.4 infrastructure, enabling users to monitor the RHEV manager with preferred third-party monitoring tools.
- Mixed storage domains, enabling shared, different protocol types to exist within the same datacenter, including Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI), Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP), Network File System (NFS), Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) and Gluster.
In addition, RHEV has been designed in particular to work well with cloud in general and OpenStack, Red Hat's cloud of choice. These include:
- OpenStack Image Service (Glance) integration enhancements, enabling users to import a Glance image as a template to use in provisioning a new virtual machine.
- OpenStack Networking (Neutron) integration enhancements, extending beyond regular Neutron capabilities by enabling users to create and delete networks on an external Neutron provider.
In a statement, Radhesh Balakrishnan, Red Hat's general manager, of virtualization and OpenStack, said, “This latest release of RHEV truly enables us to provide broader functionality in traditional virtualization by delivering updates to the enterprise features customers have come to expect … and provide the necessary tools for OpenStack adoption to help customers position themselves to address future needs.”
Red Hat is pushing so hard for the cloud because, as Gary Chen, IDC's research manager for enterprise virtualization software, put it in the Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide Cloud and Virtualization System Software, 2013 report, “Virtualization is the new default in the datacenter, with more virtual than physical servers today. Hypervisor competition and diversity is beginning to change, but as hypervisors commoditize, the differentiation is at the cloud system software and management layers."
And, as Red Hat has made it clear, the company sees OpenStack as its difference maker. ZDNet's own Dan Kusnetzky put it well when he considered the RHEV beta: RHEV is Red Hat's "robust, yet simple, on-ramp for cloud computing services," which makes "it possible for OpenStack to be optimized and perform better."
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