Red Hat and virtualization - it's the ecosystem, baby

Red Hat's Radhesh Balakrishnan talks about Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 and its impact on creating OpenStack-based clouds. In the end, he points out that Red Hat's business model and its key success factor is the ecosystem.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

Radhesh Balakrishnan, Red Hat's General Manager of Virtualization and OpenStack, stopped by to talk about Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.3 and its impact on his company's implementation of OpenStack-based on- and off-premise clouds.

Short intro of Radhesh Balakrishnan

Balakrishnan joined Red Hat in April 2013 after having held product management and product marketing responsibilities across a wide range of product lines at Microsoft. His last post at Microsoft was senior director responsible for the Windows Azure cloud platform business in the Asia Pacific region. At Red Hat, Balakrishnan's job to drive Red Hat's business strategy, product management and product marketing for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) and OpenStack offerings that include Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure (RHCI).

Quick Review of the news

Balakrishnan spent most of his time discussing Red Hat's recent announcement of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.3, which is Red Hat's distribution of KVM, and how it is one of the major foundation pieces of its cloud computing strategy.

Here's what Red Hat has to say about the announcement:

Designed to deliver traditional datacenter virtualization while providing an on-ramp to OpenStack, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization enables a wide variety of enterprises to deploy traditional and elastic workloads on their existing infrastructure without impacting service levels, performance or scalability. The newest version of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization enables customers to deploy a common set of OpenStack services (Compute, Storage and Networking) that can be used by their datacenter virtualization platform through Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, as well as their private cloud through Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. With a cohesive environment between the private cloud and the datacenter, a variety of enterprises may now deploy traditional and elastic workloads without having to duplicate infrastructure layers.

The newest release of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization includes several enhanced infrastructure, networking and storage features to enhance developer portability across a heterogeneous cloud environment, including:

  • A new self-hosted engine, allowing the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization manager to be deployed as a virtual machine on the host, reducing hardware requirements
  • Back-up and restore API integration, now including a new backup infrastructure providing a rich API set for third party software vendors to backup and restore their virtual machines
  • Support for OpenStack Glance and OpenStack Neutron, enabling users to store their virtual machine templates and enable advanced networking configurations with a shared infrastructure between private clouds and datacenter virtualization.

Balakrishnan went on to talk about Red Hat's framework (introduced June 2013) that has allowed many system and software suppliers, such as HP, NetApp and Symantec, to integrate their products into the Red Hat virtualized environment.

In the end, he pointed out, the strength of the Red Hat business model can be attributed to its broad, inclusive, vibrant partner ecosystem.

Snapshot analysis

Balakrishnan is a well-spoken, enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable spokesperson for Red Hat. He appears to sincerely believe in the products he's speaking about.  It was interesting, however, to speak with Balakrishnan immediately after having an interesting conversation with CiRBA's Andrew Hillier (see "Reservation system for the cloud" for more information about that conversation.)

What Balakrishnan said really supported what Hillier said about Red Hat's approach to implementing KVM. That was why Red Hat's implementation of KVM was one of CiRBA's supported platforms. Hillier pointed out that Red Hat had done the work to integrate a management API into its product making it possible for CiRBA's capacity management system to function. I've had similar conversations with other Red Hat partners in the past when discussing their support of a Red Hat product.

Red Hat's efforts to integrate KVM and OpenStack into its product portfolio go far beyond just adding a collection of open source software projects to the distribution DVD or download. I like the fact that Red Hat has taken many extra steps to make sure that those products are smoothly available to customers implementing workloads on a combination of physical, virtual and cloud-based hosts.

By taking this approach, Red Hat is making sure that the same tools, facilities and system services are available when needed. This level of integration should lower the cost of development and administration when compared to a more piecemeal approach.

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