This week, Red Hat inched closer to putting its underwhelming Xen hypervisor adventures behind it and ushered in a new era of virtualization based on the open source product Kernel-based Virtual Machine, or KVM. Initially announced in February, the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) suite is now in private beta and will include four products: a standalone KVM hypervisor, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) bundle that includes KVM, RHEV Manager for Servers, and RHEV Manager for Desktops.
Navin Thadani, the senior director for Red Hat's virtualization business, described KVM as a "technology that turns Linux in to a bare-metal hypervisor."
Compact, it is included in the mainline Linux kernel 2.6.20 and above and can provide better performance and scalability than "incumbent" virtualization platforms such as VMware, XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V, he said. Furthermore, because it is based on Linux, KVM supports the SELinux, security framework, and any hardware or application certified to run with RHEL. KVM will make its first appearance in RHEL 5.4, to be released later this year, at no additional cost, Thadani said.
Meanwhile, RHEL customers using the existing Xen hypervisor will have benefit from Red Hat support through RHEL 5's entire lifecycle, Thadani said (i.e., through 2014). But it's unclear whether Red Hat will continue to include Xen in new versions of the OS.VirtualBox 3.0 beta available
Sun Microsystems' VirtualBox 3.0 Beta 1 is available for download and testing from virtualbox.org. A host-based virtualization platform that competes with VMware Workstation, highlights of the new release are guest SMP support for up to 32 virtual CPUs, the ability to use Direct3D 8/9 applications and games in Windows guests, and support for the Open Graphics Language (OpenGL) 2.0. Originally developed by German company innotek, VirtualBox was acquired by Sun in February 2008. In April, Sun was in turn acquired by Oracle.
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