Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers significantly updates management capabilities and supports giant virtual machines.
The release of Red
Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 signals that 2012 will be the year that IT
managers at organizations of all sizes have real choices to make when it comes
to virtualizing workloads in the data center. RHEV 3.0 and the Microsoft
Windows Server 8 release candidate both offer a challenge to the currently unrivaled
data center virtualization lead position held by VMware vSphere 5.
Until now, IT
virtualization managers could use VMware vSphere without much question to run
workloads of all types. RHEV 3.0 successfully challenged this operating
assumption in tests at eWEEK
The revamped Red Hat Enterprise Manager (RHEM) for Servers with sizeable
increases in virtual machine (VM) resource allocations and tighter integration
with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 (RHEL 6.2)means that IT managers can
begin to consider RHEV 3.0 a viable competitor to other virtualization
platforms, including VMware.
RHEV 3.0 became
available Jan. 18. RHEV for Servers Standard (business hours support) costs $499/socket/year.
RHEV Premium (24/7 support) lists for $749/socket/year.
RHEV 3.0 is built on
the Kernel-based Virtual Machine KVM) hypervisor, which itself started as a Red
Hat project that was released to the open-source community.
HOW WE TESTED
I tested RHEV 3.0 at eWEEK
s San Francisco lab by installing
the RHEV Manager on an Acer AR 380 F1 server. Its equipped with two Intel Xeon
X5675, six-core CPUs, 24GB of DDR3 (double data rate type 3) RAM, eight 146GB
15K rpm server-attached storage (SAS) hard-disk drives and four 1G bit on-board
LAN ports. This powerhouse server provided more than enough compute power to
run the RHEV Manager.
After setting up the
RHEV Manager and integrating it with our iSCSI shared-storage system, I
installed the RHEV Hypervisor on two other physical hosts: one an Intel-based
Lenovo RD210 and the other an AMD-based whitebox server. After registering all
the components with the Red Hat Network and ensuring that my test systems were
correctly subscribed to the required channels, I was ready to fire up the RHEV
Manager and start my evaluation.
RHEV 3.0 made
significant infrastructure management improvements. The biggest news here for
IT managers is the new REST API access that enables full access to the RHEV
Manager. While this feature wasnt significantly tested in my evaluation of
RHEV, it does set the stage for third-party management tool integration. IT
managers who are making strategic decisions now about possible contenders for
production-level data center projects should take note of this RESTful API
Making the interface
available is only half the battle for Red Hat. IT managers should watch to see
how quickly management vendors move to use the API to provide management tools.
Because RHEV will likely be joining a data center environment that already has
VMware installed, it will be particularly interesting to see if vendors that
make VMware-centric tools add support for RHEV. If they do, then IT managers
will have even more reason to add Red Hat to their evaluation list for
enterprise virtualization projects.
Aside from the
addition of the REST API, Red Hat added a number of important convenience
features. For example, after installing my two RHEV Hypervisor physical hosts,
I was able to approve them as members of the RHEV environment with a single
click of the new approve button.
portal interface now includes links to the administration and user portals,
along with other changes that made it much easier to track my environment. A
tree view is now used to show data centers, clusters, storage domains, physical
hosts and virtual machines. IT managers who have experience with VMwares
vCenter interface will quickly see the similarity between the two management
There is now more
granularity in user administration roles. I was able to use the revised User Portal
to provide restricted access to administrative functions. After first
integrating my RHEV 3.0 environment with the Labs Microsoft Active Directory
services, I was able to assign roles to the users in the directory.
In my tests, I used
the default roles that RHEV provided. In one case, I used the Network Admin
role to restrict access to the networks in my eWEEK
data center network. I was easily able to clone user roles
and then make changes in permission levels for those roles. However, in most
cases, IT managers will find that Red Hat has provided sufficiently
differentiated roles in the default installation.
RHEV has joined
VMware in supporting giant virtual machines. Although the eWEEK
Labs test infrastructure isnt equipped to create these
machines, there is little doubt that Red Hat can support the new maximum VM
sizes that are supported in RHEV 3.0. In this version, Red Hat
supports up to 64 virtual CPUs and up to 2TB of RAM per virtual machine. This
matches VM sizes currently supported by VMware and announced as supported in
Microsoft Windows Server 8 Hyper-V.