The Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV 3.4) platform, released today, provides new features that make hypervisor-based virtualization easier to deploy and manage. The new RHEV release comes at a pivotal time for the virtualization industry as Docker container-based virtualization is now beginning to pick up momentum.
RHEV 3.4 is based on the upstream open-source oVirt project, which had its 3.4 release March 27. RHEV provides additional hardening and commercial enterprise support.
"Red Hat strives to contribute to the upstream oVirt community and not introduce features that are exclusive to the downstream RHEV product," Scott Herold, product manager for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, told eWEEK. "Within RHEV, we do not have any features that are not included in the upstream oVirt project."
The RHEV project had its last major update with the 3.3 release, which debuted in January. When the oVirt 3.4 release became available, RHEV 3.4 officially entered into beta. Over the course of the beta development period, the only modifications that Red Hat works on are bug fixes and feature optimization, based on beta participant feedback, Herold said.
One of the big new features in the RHEV 3.4 release is the ability for a server administrator to run virtual machine guests on the same server as the RHEV management engine. Previously, an enterprise would have required separate physical servers to manage and deploy virtual machines.
New virtual machine template capabilities also land in the RHEV 3.4 release.
RHEV 3.4 introduces a simple mechanism for providing template versions for an enterprise virtualization use case, Herold said. "This can be applied to both server and desktop virtualization to provide greater flexibility to customers that may need to deliver different versions of similar operating system builds," he said.
Networking also gets a boost in RHEV 3.4 with a feature called Network Labels. Herold explained that Network Labels are an effort to provide RHEV administrators with a simpler mechanism to manage a distributed VLAN environment within RHEV. In the networking market today, Red Hat is an active participant in the Linux Foundation's OpenDaylight project, which aims to advance an open-source software-defined networking (SDN) platform. Red Hat is also an active participant in the OpenStack cloud platform, which includes the Neutron networking project.
"As Red Hat continues to integrate with OpenDaylight and other SDN efforts for RHEL OSP [Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform], we will be able to consume them within RHEV through our Neutron integration that we've started with RHEV 3.3," Herold said.
In the traditional virtualization model that is used by RHEV and rival technologies, including VMware's ESX and Microsoft's Hyper-V, a hypervisor is used to deliver virtual machines and each virtual machine requires its own operating system in order to run. In contrast, with the Docker container model, a single operating system host is able to run multiple virtual application containers without the need for additional operating systems. Docker officially hit its 1.0 release June 9.
Red Hat is a big supporter of Docker and includes it as part of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7) operating system, which was released June 10. Red Hat is also working on the open-source Project Atomic, which is an operating system platform built for container delivery.
RHEV and Docker provide fundamentally different use cases, Herold explained. "In fact, we see opportunities for RHEV to run the operating systems, including Atomic Hosts, that ultimately run Docker instances," he said. "Within the oVirt upstream project, we have an initial Docker integration to run Docker instances in VM containers provided by RHEV."
Red Hat is still determining how to further implement and enhance Docker capabilities in both oVirt and RHEV, Herold said.
With the RHEV 3.4 release now generally available, Red Hat developers are continuing to work on expanding the platform to improve scalability and performance.
"We are also looking at integration into OptaPlanner, an upstream project that will enable us to maximize the utilization of an environment while removing performance impact risk due to improper VM placement," Herold said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.