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Latest RHEV version includes small tweaks, big outlook

In RHEV 3.4, there are some small upgrades and new features that will help, but more importantly, the focus on the big picture becomes clearer.

In June 2014, Red Hat announced the availability of the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, RHEV 3.4. This version offers several new and enhanced features that are beneficial for users.

In recent updates of RHEV, Red Hat had already opened a better integration with cloud. Red Hat is working hard to become one of the leading providers for OpenStack's platform as a service cloud, a solution that has similarities to RHEV. For those that use RHEV and have a growing deployment, cloud is a logical next step. Therefore it makes sense for Red Hat developers, as well as RHEV and Red Hat OpenStack users, to integrate RHEV more closely with OpenStack. In RHEV 3.4, the developers do just that by including some OpenStack features as a technical preview.

The OpenStack Image Service (Glance), used for defining system images as a basis for new virtual machines (VMs), is available as a template in RHEV. In addition, the OpenStack Networking (Neutron) service is an alternative way to manage networking. The Red Hat OpenStack features are currently only offered as tech previews. This means that they should not be considered final or even usable, but they are giving an impression of where Red Hat wants to go to with future RHEV versions.

According to Frederik Bijlsma, who works for Red Hat and is responsible for RHEV and cloud in EMEA, it makes sense to integrate RHEV and OpenStack.

"We have the same people working on both products, and they are using similar technology, so it is more efficient," Bijlsma said.

But it doesn't mean that RHEV is going to disappear and be absorbed in OpenStack, he said.

"Even if there is overlap, they are clearly different products for different markets," he added. "We've been successful with RHEV so far, so we are planning to continue offering it."

New features in RHEV 3.4

Apart from the OpenStack integration, there are some other interesting new features. The most important of these is the support for mixed storage domains. In the past, a different storage domain needed to be defined for each type of storage. The result was nonintuitive management of VMs that need access to different storage domains. With support for mixed storage domains, that is no longer an annoyance users have to deal with.

Another new feature is enhanced networking through a multihost network configuration, which provides an easy way to create a network configuration from the central RHEV management interface and deploy it over multiple physical hosts. This also is a feature that RHEV administrators will enjoy because in past versions, there simply was no solution available that made network management among multiple hosts easy.

Some less significant new features are template versioning and a new SNMP-based notification service. This service allows for better integration of RHEV with existing management platforms, and the template makes it easier to roll out different versions of Linux VMs. In addition, affinity groups, which allow administrators to define preferences for VMs to run on a specific host, have been upgraded.

RHEV 3.4 provides some interesting new features, but none of them should be considered very important, even if mixed storage domains and the enhanced networking deployments definitely do make managing RHEV easier. This RHEV version can be considered a minor update in which the technical preview of the OpenStack services is probably the most interesting new development. The inclusion of Glance and Neutron shows where Red Hat wants to go to and provides a promising insight into what can be expected of upcoming releases.

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