Red Hat has announced it’s virtualization plans for the future which includes a switch from Xen to KVM in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4, three new virtualization products based on KVM, Solid ICE and the spice protocol. Red Hat which acquired these tools as part of the Qumranet acquisition will be making them free and open source software and develop them into a cross platform management tool.
Slated for graduated rollout over the next 12 months, the new products include: Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Servers; Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Desktops; Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL); and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor.
Red Hat will continue to support Xen in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 but plans to aggressively adopt KVM as it’s strategic choice going forward. KVM is part of the Linux kernel and unlike Xen, automatically takes advantage of all the Linux’s kernel improvements. KVM has also been the default in Fedora for a few releases. Red Hat continues to work on merging more of the Xen changes upstream as well.
Distancing themselves from Xen and moving to KVM, which is an integrated and supported part of the core kernel now, is a thoroughly sensible thing to do. Trying to maintain separate Xen kernel branches is just plain silly, and it’s not sustainable. Not only is it not sustainable it’s unlikely to see enough future scrutiny, innovation and ideas as KVM will do as part of the kernel. It’s small wonder Citrix have made their offering free now:
While I don’t agree with some of the technical directions Red Hat has made over the years, and they might ultimately still cost them, they are pretty much the only Linux company right now which has the foresight to make a firm decision on what technical direction to go in and stick with it. They’re the only one that see the importance in those decisions. It’s why they are the number one Linux company in terms of revenue right now, and why they’re not running around like a headless chicken trying to ‘interoperate’ with Microsoft or anyone else.
It all adds up.