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OVirt vs. RHEV: Are they interchangeable?

What are the primary differences between RHEV 3.1 and oVirt 3.1? Can I use the two interchangeably?

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Sander van Vugt: Both oVirt 3.1 and RHEV 3.1 enable server virtualization. In fact, Red Hat based RHEV on the oVirt software. Nevertheless, the two do have some key differences that dictate how you should deploy each.

Red Hat Inc. developed oVirt as a Web-based, open source data center virtualization platform. A standard oVirt setup requires a hypervisor and a management server. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV), on the other hand, is a server virtualization platform where the underlying KVM hypervisor is integrated into the Linux kernel.

More resources on open source virtualization

Comparing Red Hat and Ubuntu KVM virtualization

Using VirtualBox for server virtualization

The open source market for desktop virtualization

Red Hat released its collection of open source software as oVirt before going commercial with it as RHEV with the purpose of testing features in the community. As a result, oVirt contains features that RHEV will never include simply because it did not meet expectations.

Another factor in the oVirt vs. RHEV discussion is that unlike RHEV 3.1, oVirt 3.1 has no enterprise-level support. Furthermore, RHEV requires Red Hat Enterprise Linux as host operating system, but oVirt could theoretically be made available for any platform. At the moment, however, oVirt 3.1 only runs on Fedora.

Bottom line: You can configure an enterprise-scale virtualization environment with either oVirt 3.1 or RHEV 3.1, but for adequate support and advanced features, RHEV 3.1 beats oVirt 3.1.

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This was first published in February 2013

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