Another view on Red Hat's Virtualization Portfolio

Red Hat just trumpeted that its Virtualization Portfolio was just about cooked and ready to serve. While that announcement (see Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Beta Draws Industry Interest) did gather some industry comment, including that made by my colleage Paula Rooney (see Red Hat's KVM-based virtualization platform moves into beta testing), it certainly can be seen as a predictable move.

Red Hat just trumpeted that its Virtualization Portfolio was just about cooked and ready to serve. While that announcement (see Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Beta Draws Industry Interest) did gather some industry comment, including that made by my colleage Paula Rooney (see Red Hat's KVM-based virtualization platform moves into beta testing), it certainly can be seen as a predictable move. Rather than just repeating what has already been said, I'm going to present a different view.

When I posted Red Hat acquires Qumranet, several things were clear including the following:

  • Red Hat didn't trust Citrix to shepherd the Xen community because of its deep ties with Microsoft.
  • Red Hat saw that it needed to have its own hypervisor technology if it was going to be able to fully serve the needs of the open source community. It would need to continue to play along with the Xen community. It also knew that it was necessary to develop KVM as a strong contender. Acquiring Qumranet gave it access to KVM and its developers.
  • Red Hat saw that if it was going to continue to be a strong competitor in the infrastructure software market, it needed a strong story in the related areas of desktop virtualization, server virtualization, management of virtualized environments and security for those environments.  It didn't trust Citrix to continue providing that technology.  Qumranet had a running start at a desktop virtualization (virtual access software, a hypervisor and related management software) and with some help, that technology could be the foundation of a much broader offering.
  • As various forms of cloud computing move from the early adoptor phase to mainstream acceptance, having a complete, robust infrastructure offering for hosting and managed services suppliers was an absolute necessity. These suppliers often care far more for commodity pricing, standardization, reliability, performance and manageability than for brand names.  If others control significant components of a complete infrastructure for cloud computing, Red Hat would find itself hamstrung when completing with players like Microsoft, IBM, HP, Sun/Oracle and the like.

Snapshot Analysis

It appears that Red Hat has a good technological base for moving forward. It also faces a steep, up hill climb, if it hopes to capture industry mindshare from VMware, Microsoft and Citrix. Many organizations have already standardized on products from one or more of those suppliers. Getting them to consider an alternative when the products are only in beta testing is going to be problematic.

Unasked for, shoot-from-the-hip advice

Red Hat, I would suggest that you go after small companies that haven't yet made a choice of suppliers and cloud computing suppliers with your products. If your pricing is right, they might listen to you.