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Red Hat testing virtualization lineup

Tests of new virtualization products based on Qumranet's KVM hypervisor are the next stage in development of the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization lineup.

Red Hat has begun beta-testing its new line of virtualization products based on Qumranet's KVM hypervisor.

The tests are the next stage in development of the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) lineup, which was announced by the company in February. The RHEV portfolio includes a standalone hypervisor, RHEV-H, as well as virtualization managers for servers and desktops. In its announcement earlier this year, Red Hat said the products would be made available within the following 18 months, which sets a deadline of August 2010.

"We are in a unique position to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of virtualization solutions, ranging from a standalone hypervisor to a virtualized operating system to a comprehensive virtualization management product suite," Scott Crenshaw, vice president of Red Hat's platform business unit, said Tuesday in the beta-test announcement.

Red Hat's RHEV strategy puts the company into direct competition with Citrix. That company owns XenSource, which created and maintains Xen. Red Hat is also competing with companies such as Microsoft and VMware on virtualization.

KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a native or "bare metal" hypervisor that runs directly on x86-based host hardware, rather than running on top of an operating system. Red Hat is building the hypervisor into Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), starting with version 5.4. In addition, KVM will replace the previous virtualization system, which was based on Xen, in Red Hat's products. However, the company will continue to support Xen-based deployments for the full lifetime of RHEL 5.

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Servers will allow management across virtual servers and virtual desktops. Its features include live migration, high availability, a system scheduler, a power manager, an image manager, snapshots, thin provisioning, monitoring and reporting. The management tool will be able to manage RHEL 5 hosts as well as RHEV-H, Red Hat said.

The Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Desktops is based on Qumranet's Solid ICE desktop virtualization product and uses Qumranet's Spice remote rendering protocol. Red Hat bought Qumranet, the creator of KVM, for $107 million in September.

Matthew Broersma of ZDNet UK reported from London.