Red Hat Lays Cloud, Virtualization Foundations

New solutions expand open source vendor's virtualization offerings and build upon partnership with networking vendor Cisco.

Red Hat isn't resting on its laurels after reporting strong quarterly result this week.

Instead, Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is launching a new cloud offering, updating its virtualization solutions and expanding its partnership with networking giant Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO).

Today the open source vendor announced Red Hat Cloud Foundations, a new offering that bundles together Red Hat products and expertise for cloud deployments. Cloud Foundations includes Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV), combined with a reference architecture, consulting and training.

"Cloud Foundations includes everything needed for customers to plan, build and manage real cloud deployments today," Scott Crenshaw, vice president and general manager of Red Hat's cloud business unit, told reporters during a press conference. "We're in a market full of hype around cloud. Most people are confused about what the cloud is and how it should be used, and with Red Hat we'll make it simple and easy for customers."

Crenshaw noted that Red Hat's approach isn't aimed at locking in users to a particular platform. The platform would be able to leverage both VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines to deliver cloud services.

Red Hat is also expanding its Certified Cloud Provider program, which it launched in July 2009 in a partnership with Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). The program has now been expanded with IBM, NTT and Savvis as partners that are certified to deliver Red Hat-powered cloud solutions.

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

RHEV stands as a key part of Red Hat's cloud strategy. The solution, which which debuted last year, is based on KVM virtualization technology and is now officially being updated to RHEV version 2.2, after three months in public beta.

With RHEV 2.2, Red Hat is expanding interoperability with other virtualization solutions by providing support for the Open Virtualization Format (OVF). With OVF and new tools for importing VMware and Xen virtual machines, RHEV will be able to run virtual guests that weren't originally created for its KVM based hypervisor.

Navin Thadani, senior director of Red Hat's virtualization business, noted during the press conference that the company is now also providing RHEV for desktops as well as for servers.

"We've added desktop virtualization so our enterprise customers can use the same toolset and management system to create an internal cloud where they can deploy servers and desktops with the same infrastructure," Thadani said.

With the previous release of RHEV, the management component required users to actually run the software on a Windows Server. Red Hat did not directly respond to a question from by press time on whether or not the Windows requirement has now been waived with the RHEV 2.2 release. Back in March, Thadani told that the Windows dependency was likely to remain until the RHEV 3 release at some point in the future.


Red Hat is also expanding its partnership with networking giant Cisco. Red Hat is already one of Cisco's operating system partners for the Cisco Unified Computing server system, which first debuted in March 2009.

Now Cisco is getting closer to Red Hat by providing support on UCS for KVM. Ed Bugnion, Cisco's vice president and CTO of server access and virtualization, explained during the press conference that Cisco made its contributions to KVM -- part of the mainline Linux kernel -- available as open source.

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

Tags: cloud computing, virtualization, virtualization cloud, Red Hat, enterprise linux

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