If you want an insider's view on Red Hat's acquisition of Qumranet, you could hardly do better than to read Billy Marshall's commentary. Billy used to run North America sales for Red Hat and competes with Red Hat today from his perch at virtualization vendor rPath.
With this acquisition, Red Hat is escalating the already fierce battle that is raging for control of the software layer that is rapidly replacing the general purpose OS as the access layer for hardware infrastructure. Qumranet is a very savvy acquisition by Red Hat because it plays to their strength as the primary maintainer of low level Linux kernel technology. The Linux kernel is a mature, high performing provider of hardware driver capability, and there is no doubt in my mind that it can become a significant competitor in the bare metal hypervisor space.
Billy's good opinion of the move, given his past and present roles, is telling. Of course, Billy is smart enough to know that having Red Hat validate his own assumptions of where the market is moving - toward more virtualization - can help rPath, if he plays his hand well.
Increased competition in the virtualization market from Red Hat and others is good for rPath, just as it's good for customers. I'm just waiting to see how Red Hat and other operating system vendors will productize and price it such that it's good for them, too.