Red Hat Isnt Exhibiting Xen-Ophobia

Opinion: But maybe it should, as the virtualization technology is still in heavy flux.

Red Hats announcement March 14 of its integrated virtualization push, starring Xen, didnt take anyone by surprise: Red Hat, along with just about everybody else, has been tooting the Xen horn ever since the fledgling open-source virtualization technology began grabbing headlines almost a year ago.

The move—for both Red Hat and its enterprise customers—is a smart one. Red Hat Enterprise Linux boasts probably the broadest range of certified hardware of any Linux option, and bringing Xen technology into the companys product mix will enable enterprises to rely on Red Hat for hardware compatibility while running the OS-to-application stack of their choice—even, eventually, Microsoft Windows—in a virtualized environment.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about Red Hats integrated virtualization strategy.

The trouble is that Xen is somewhat early on in its development, and the high rate of change in Xens code base will keep the technology out of the mainstream Linux kernel for some time.

Red Hat has and will continue to chart its own course with respect to the kernel, diverging from the mainstream where and when appropriate, but Xens potential will remain somewhat stunted for as long as it remains in heavy flux.

Id like to see Red Hat add to its virtualization agenda the OpenVZ project—a GPLd code base born of SWsofts 5-year-old commercial Virtuozzo product, which itself is roughly comparable to the containers in Sun Microsystems Solaris 10.

OpenVZ, which also is vying for inclusion in the mainstream Linux kernel, would complement Xen well and has impressed me in the initial testing Ive conducted.

Ultimately, it might make the most sense for Red Hat to deploy both Xen and OpenVZ. The complementary technologies would be a good counterbalance to the Xen/container combo I expect to see eventually in Solaris.

Look for more eWEEK Labs coverage of Xen and OpenVZ in forthcoming issues and at

Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at

/zimages/2/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.