Red Hat Revs Up RHEV Enterprise Virtualization

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2 (RHEV) beta release shows off new open source virtualization management features.

Linux vendor Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) today announced the beta availability of its next virtualization platform -- Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) 2.2.

The RHEV 2.2 release is the first public announcement that Red Hat has made about the virtualization platform since its initial public release in November 2009. The RHEV solution suite includes a standalone KVM hypervisor as well as a server virtualization management product.

On the performance side, RHEV 2.2 can now support up to 256 GB of memory for a virtual machine, which is a four-fold increase over the 64 GB that RHEV supported in November. Additionally with the RHEV 2.2 beta, Red Hat is expanding the platform to support both desktop and server virtualization management.

"The plan will be for a single platform with one installer for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization," Andy Cathrow, senior product marketing manager for Red Hat's virtualization solutions, told "It is based on a subscription you buy, and you'll be entitled to use the functionality for desktop, servers or both."

From an interoperability perspective, RHEV now has the ability to both import and export Open Virtualization Format (OVF) virtual machines. The OVF format is an industry-standard specification that was originally developed by a number of vendors including VMware, Citrix, HP, IBM and Microsoft .

The general idea with Red Hat's embrace of OVF is that users will be able to move virtual machines across different virtual environments.

"The ability to import third-party virtual machines has been the biggest request from our customer base who want to migrate their existing workloads from VMware to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization," Cathrow said. "The OVF format is an industry standard for creating virtual machine images. By adopting this standard, we are able to leverage a wide variety of tools that already support OVF."

As part of that effort, RHEV 2.2 will use a tool called V2V, which is a virtual machine conversion application. With V2V, a VMware or Xen image is converted into OVF, which can then be used with RHEV 2.2.

Cathrow noted that the V2V tool is open source, along with the infrastructure that powers it -- including a component called livguestfs.

"I think that livguestfs is a really interesting piece of a solution. It is a library for accessing and manipulating virtual machine images," Cathrow said. "With this library, you can open a virtual machine image and make offline changes to it -- everything from complex structural changes like filesystems and partition manipulation, even down to file, RPM and windows registry changes."

RHEV still has Windows Server dependency

While many things have been improved and changed in RHEV 2.2, one thing that hasn't changed is the need for RHEV-M management server to run on a Windows Servers.

"The Windows dependency will be removed in the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 release," Cathrow said. "In the meantime, we have ported our backend code to Java and we are working now on a pure HTML frontend that can be accessed with a Windows or Linux system."

Though RHEV as a platform was officially rolled out barely six months ago, Red Hat has already experienced some success with the platform. Among the wins for RHEV is one from IBM, which is adopting the technology as part of its new cloud service.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

Tags: open source, virtualization, Red Hat, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, enterprise virtualization

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