Red Hat Virtualization updates pave way for hybrid cloud, automation

Red Hat Virtualization 4.1 includes better integration with Ansible and CloudForms. Admins should get to know these and other RH products to better manage their environments.

BOSTON -- The latest upgrades and planned improvements to Red Hat Virtualization emphasize automation and integration with hybrid cloud, topics of growing importance to systems administrators and the company itself – but users still have checklist items to address.

Red Hat reviewed changes in Red Hat Virtualization 4.1 released last month, and gave customers a preview of upcoming features, at its annual Red Hat Summit in Boston this week. Integration with OpenStack components Neutron and Glance and future integration with OpenShift and Cinder, emphasize Red Hat's hybrid cloud strategy. Integration with CloudForms 4.2 also plays a big role in this strategy, offering better snapshot management and live migration.

Admins can now create, deploy and manage VMs on top of RHV using the Ansible 2.3 ecosystem and oVirt Ansible modules.

Most improvements to RHV are now about polishing and refining performance, particularly automation, analytics, and more efficient management, through integration with containers, Ansible, CloudForms and other Red Hat products, said Gary Chen, analyst at IDC.

"Red Hat's virtualization is not only a standalone product, but also a foundation for the rest of the Red Hat stack," he said. "When you look at OpenStack, OpenShift and all the bundles that encompass those … virtualization powers all of those underneath."

Also new is the addition of high availability via storage, enhanced live migration support and improved scale up/down options. High available migration in particular was not working in earlier versions of RHV, said Nedunchelian Kulendran, a senior Linux architect who attended the Red Hat conference.

Other users at the show credited performance improvements in RHV's latest versions.

"On the hypervisor side, especially when migrating VMs between hosts, it's more responsive," said William Yiu, platform engineer at O3b Networks, a network communications service provider based in The Hague, Netherlands.

Other improvements in RHV 4.1 help with dev/test environments, such as disk maintenance and image upload/download processes. The company also previewed native software-defined networking and GPU virtualization support.

Exporting and backups remain unsolved issues in RHV, according to Kulendran. "They just aren't that good so far," he said.

The RHV 4.2 roadmap includes features to support hybrid cloud, mission critical performance, dev/test and vGPU. Some standouts include native disaster recovery and improved backup APIs, native SDN support and full vGPU support. RHV 4.2 will also have some hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) features, including central management, HCI for data center virtualization and SDN-default networking.

Red Hat is correctly focusing on improving management and orchestration tool sophistication, said Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at 451 Research.

"The next step is providing that additional set of visibility through the hypervisor to be able to do more dynamic management," he said. "You can expect that it's that greater visibility that, in a hyper-converged environment, means you can make more intelligent decisions about resource utilization."

Ryann Burnett is the site editor for

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