Definition

Red Hat Virtualization (RHV)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Red Hat Summit 2017: Inside the latest with open source tech
Contributor(s): Julia Anderson and Stephen J. Bigelow

Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) is an enterprise-class virtualization platform produced by Red Hat. It's intended to virtualize important applications in the enterprise data center while achieving performance, resilience and security.

What Red Hat Virtualization does

Virtualization is a vital service for modern computing. It abstracts compute resources, enabling those resources to be pooled and provisioned into virtual instances, such as virtual machines (VMs) and containers. Those instances can share the underlying hardware, enabling more workloads to run on less overall hardware -- vastly increasing resource utilization and management efficiency.

RHV is a rebranding of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV). It provides a virtualization software product that includes a hypervisor based on Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), along with a complete virtualization management platform.

However, RHV supports both Linux and Windows environments. RHV is capable of supporting the compute and performance demands of enterprise-grade applications -- such as Oracle and SAP -- enabling organizations to virtualize and manage complex, resource-hungry, performance-sensitive workloads. The use of KVM also enables RHV to integrate with emerging cloud stacks, such as OpenStack.

Important Red Hat Virtualization features

RHV promotes numerous features that can benefit an enterprise. The KVM hypervisor is mature and highly efficient, enabling workload performance to rival the performance of that same application on bare-metal -- nonvirtualized -- hardware. KVM's low resource requirements can also facilitate greater levels of workload consolidation than some other hypervisors -- fitting more VMs onto fewer hardware systems.

For x86 systems, RHV can support a variety of 32-bit and 64-bit OSes, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) version 3 through 7; Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10; Microsoft Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2 and 2016; and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, 11 and 12.

RHV also promotes high scalability. For example, RHV can virtualize up to 288 processors and 12 TB of memory per host -- system -- and deliver up to 240 virtual CPUs and 6 TB of memory per guest VM. A single cluster can handle up to 200 hypervisor hosts. This enables RHV to virtualize the largest hardware platforms and create extremely large VMs to hold resource-hungry, enterprise-class workloads.

RHV employs strong security features, including Red Hat Secure Virtualization (sVirt) and techniques found in Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux). The central benefit of these features is isolation. SELinux labels each VM and enables each VM to exist as a unique process and run under a kernel-level hypervisor. This creates a strong logical boundary that prevents one VM from accessing resources -- such as other VMs -- outside of that boundary. SVirt adds mandatory access control (MAC) and other management features that improve security by enhancing VM organization and management.

RHV is compatible with cloud software stacks and can be a foundational technology for private cloud frameworks, including Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure, which combines additional tools, such as Red Hat CloudForms for multi-cloud management, Red Hat OpenStack for the cloud stack, Red Hat Satellite for infrastructure management and Red Hat Insights for predictive analytics. RHV also supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host as a guest OS, enabling containers to run on Atomic Host VMs.

Red Hat Virtualization Manager

Red Hat Virtualization Manager (RHVM) is a software tool that provides centralized management over the physical and logical resources available within an environment virtualized with RHV. Current iterations of RHVM include a comprehensive system dashboard enabling virtualization administrators to see an overview of the environment, yet drill down into operational and performance details of any VM.

Image management is also improved in RHVM, enabling the direct upload and management of VM files directly through RHVM. Migration policies can be created and managed for VM clusters and even individual VMs. RHVM can support enterprise-class environments with hundreds of host systems and thousands of VMs.

Red Hat Virtualization development

RHEV 2.1 was commercially released in November 2009. It has since received numerous revisions and updates. With the release of version 4.0, RHEV was rebranded as RHV. Version 4.1 also integrates RHEL version 7.4.

Major releases of RHVM

Red Hat Virtualization pricing

RHV doesn't require an upfront license fee. Instead, Red Hat charges an annual subscription fee for product access, updates, patches and technical support -- which is routinely absent from open source software products.

Red Hat currently offers a standard subscription, with support available during normal business hours, and a premium, 24/7 year-round subscription plan. Both plans are priced per managed hypervisor and CPU socket pair per year. It's important to check current pricing with Red Hat sales to receive the most accurate pricing, discounts and other details.

However, subscriptions include all the related products, such as RHVM and the RHV hypervisor, and all of the features related to those products. There are no upcharges or usage surcharges -- such as virtual RAM usage charges.

This was last updated in December 2017

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