Red Hat Virtualization 4.2 Gains New SDN, High-Performance Features

While containers are increasing Red Hat's focus, hypervisor-based virtualization is still a need for many enterprises.

While containers and Kubernetes are among the hottest areas in application deployment, enterprises are still deploying virtual machines and hypervisors. To help support the continued demand for virtualization, Red Hat announced its Red Hat Virtualization 4.2 update on May 15.

The RHV update benefits from a new user interface that was developed in the open-source PatternFly project. There are also improved metrics and logging capabilities, as well as new disaster recovery features. And networking gets a boost with the inclusion of the Open Virtual Network (OVN) software-defined networking (SDN) technology. The RHV update comes a week after the Red Hat Summit, where a core focus was on the company's OpenShift Kubernetes container orchestration platform.

"The soft launch of Red Hat Virtualization 4.2 was last week at Red Hat Summit, where we covered what's new in 4.2 in several breakout sessions and at the Red Hat booth," Rob Young, product manager for Red Hat Virtualization at Red Hat, told eWEEK. "The larger launch this week allows us to respond to any remaining showstoppers and to enable our release engineering team to create the final builds, package them and load them into the proper channels in advance of the larger launch."

RHV was originally known as Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) prior to the 4.0 release in August 2016. RHV is a commercially supported product based on the open-source oVirt project, which uses the open-source KVM hypervisor as the core virtualization technology for running virtual machines. Young noted that RHV 4.2 is based on the oVirt 4.2 update that became generally available in December 2017.

New UI

RHV 4.2 is getting a new look, with an updated user interface based on the PatternFly project. The PatternFly user interface (UI) project is a sponsored Red Hat open-source effort that has been under active development for the last several years. As to why it is now the default UI in RHV, Young said it's all about consistency.

"The RHV-M [Red Hat Virtualization Management] UI has been redesigned to look and feel like the rest of the Red Hat portfolio, and PatternFly gives a common way to deliver and maintain the RHV provider for CloudForms," Young said. "This is better for customers and easier for us to maintain moving ahead."

CloudForms is Red Hat's multicloud management platform that is based on the open-source ManageIQ project. As part of the RHV 4.2 milestone, the new Red Hat Virtualization Suite was also announced, combining RHV 4.2 with the CloudForms 4.5 release to provide organizations with a larger platform to manage and deploy virtualization.

Another new capability in RHV 4.2 is what Red Hat refers to as a high-performance virtual machine (VM).

"The new high-performance VM provides users with a preconfigured VM built on Red Hat best practices for high-demand workloads," Young said. "To this end, RH configures many of the tuning or optimization settings and only exposes the small number that need the operator to make a decision based on the specific use case or operating environment."


Networking also gets a boost in RHV 4.2 with the inclusion of the OVN SDN overlay technology. Young said that prior to RHV 4.2, there was no native overlay networking solution and all the networking was done via Linux host networking. 

In the latest version, OVN does not deprecate the existing networking. Instead, it enhances it for advanced use cases and provides more management capabilities to the virtualization administrator to '“mix and match” based on the use case.

OpenShift vs. Red Hat Virtualization

On May 8, at the Red Hat Summit, the new Container Native Virtualization effort was announced, which enables VMs to run inside of containers. As a company, Red Hat has been focusing on containers and its OpenShift platform as the modern way to enable agile application delivery.

Young said that Red Hat's strategy is to evolve its portfolio to provide a unified platform for container-native, hybrid cloud, microservice-driven application deployments. At the same time, he noted that Red Hat recognizes that many traditional virtualized workloads, like SAP HANA, MySQL and mainframe databases, may never migrate from physical or virtual deployments.

"In short, the problem solved by RHV is not going away anytime soon," Young said.

Young explained that OpenShift provides a unified platform and service catalog that now enables developers to build, deploy and manage modern, container-native applications that consume traditional virtualized workloads as if they were also containerized. 

"Moving forward, you will see the traditional RHV VM features and functionality ported to OpenShift, so users have a common experience regardless of where workloads are running," Young said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.