Linux vendor Red Hat has big plans to create an integrated virtualization environment that will simplify virtualization deployment for its customers.
This “Integrated Virtualization” strategy was announced at a launch event in San Francisco on March 14, as first reported by eWEEK, and will essentially see the Raleigh, N.C., company tightly integrate virtualization capabilities with its operating system.
It will also ensure that all aspects of the RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) platform, from management tools and installation to software management, will enable customers to deploy virtualized environments easily and effectively.
Company executives said Red Hat would continue to work with partners like AMD, Intel, Network Appliance and XenSource in this regard.
Red Hat will support customers and partners with tools, services and technology previews that let them deploy computing resources at a lower cost while maximizing resource utilization of each resource over time, the company said.
“Conservative estimates show that servers typically operate at between 15 and 20 percent of CPU capacity, but with virtualization, that could rise to 80 percent,” Tim Yeaton, executive vice president for enterprise solutions at the Raleigh, N.C., company, said at the event.
Red Hat had a three-pronged approach with regard to virtualization, Yeaton said. First was delivering integrated innovation, where virtualization was integrated into the underlying platform.
Secondly, Red Hat planned to work collaboratively with its hardware, software and other partners to bring these technologies to market in a unique and transparent way, he said.
Thirdly, he said, the company was committed to an attractive, open, transparent model on which to work with, educate and prepare customers to adopt and deploy this technology and the solutions around it.
“The benefits of virtualization are clear: There will be large cost savings, as server utilization can be driven from 20 percent to 80 percent, with the resultant savings in space and power bills, as well as the reliability it brings and the ability to migrate and isolate workloads in the event of system failure,” Yeaton said.
Red Hat will make Fedora Core 5 available in March, as early as the week of March 20. Fedora Core 5 will contain a preview of Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtualization technology.
“This will create a core of use around virtualization technology,” Brian Stevens, Red Hats chief technology officer, said at the event.
Then, in the summer of 2006, Red Hat will make its Virtualization Migration and Assessment Services available along with an Enterprise Virtualization beta. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 5, which is scheduled for general availability by the end of 2006, will feature fully integrated virtualization, he said.
Chip Makers Welcome Red
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Representatives from chip makers AMD and Intel welcomed Red Hats virtualization move. Joe Menard, the vice president of software strategy at AMD, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., said being a key partner of Red Hat was important to the company.
AMD had heard from customers that server utilization was an issue, as was the space they increasingly occupied and the power they consumed, and they wanted a solution to address this, he said.
“With the work we are doing with Red Hat and Xen, we are able to offer customers a very powerful virtualization solution,” Menard said, adding that the company was at a proof of concept stage with regard to the use of virtualization technology internally.
Lorie Wigle, the director of services technology and initiatives marketing at Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., said virtualization technology was a big area of focus for the company, which was also pleased to be working with Red Hat in that regard.
“As our customers are deploying virtualization, they are concerned about the reliability of the system, they need performance tuned for a virtualized environment, and software compatibility is critical to them. Thats where the collaboration with Red Hat and the Xen community is really important to us,” she said.
Intel was also at a proof-of-concept stage internally with regard to virtualization technology, she said, but would this year be rolling out a global program to bring tools and resources to bear so that customers can look at, learn and roll out these technologies. She said Intel would be working closely with Red Hat in this regard.
Bruce Moxon, the senior director of strategic technology at Network Appliance, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., said he looked forward to working with Red Hat on this virtualization initiative and to helping it create and deliver on its virtualization vision.
Frank Artale, the vice president of business development at XenSource, said the company was pleased that Red Hat was including the Xen open-source hypervisor technology in its upcoming RHEL 5 product.
Asked about support for other virtualization technologies, both the Intel and AMD spokespeople said they would offer any virtualization technologies their customers wanted, as choice was always good, and that they would both continue to work with the various providers of this technology.
Some analysts like Tony Iams, vice president of system software research at Ideas International, in Rye Brooks, N.Y., said they believe that Red Hat will drive virtualization deeply into the mainstream by making Xen a pervasive part of its Linux distribution.
The integration of Xen into Red Hat Enterprise Linux would also result in important customer benefits, including better support for consolidation, more flexible life-cycle management, and improved workload management and availability, he said.