Open Source Innovation Strikes Again

February 23, 2009

by Brian Stevens, CTO, VP Engineering

Those of you who know me well know that I like to wax on about a day 15 years ago in the labs at Digital Equipment Corp. It was the day I had my “AHA!” moment, when we were hacking on a Linux/Intel combo and hit performance levels surpassing our flagship UNIX/RISC enterprise product.

I knew then that we were at the dawn of a new generation of solutions which would power the future enterprise on open source software and x86 processors.

Nearly 15 years later, the collaborative development model enabled by open source software, continues to deliver innovation at a level unable to be matched by the largest of the legacy vendors. Today marks not a footnote, but a new book in this tale: the next generation hypervisor which will drive the next wave of IT architecture. From the virtualized datacenter to the cloud.

Known within the development community as KVM, it is the world’s first hypervisor based on the linux kernel. Simply put, it enables the Linux kernel to be used as a bare metal hypervisor. The significance of this is twofold:

  • the rapid evolution of Linux kernel technology will now directly advance the capabilities of the hypervisor. new schedulers, power mgmt, performance, security, etc.
  • any device, from the phone, appliance, desktop to server which are increasingly powered by Linux, will in the future have the ability to host virtualized machines.

While it is no secret that Red Hat has been openly working on KVM technology, both from its inclusion as part of Fedora 7 almost two years ago, and the acquisition of Qumranet, today marks our formal commitment to our existing and future customers.

Red Hat will be including KVM as part of RHEL 5.4, due out later this year. In addition, we will deliver KVM unbundled from RHEL, in a package dubbed RHEV-H(ypervisor). RHEV-H is a stateless hypervisor, with a tight footprint of under 128MB, which presents a libvirt interface to the management tier. Enterprise servers will no longer need to go through an installation process, and will instead be able to boot RHEV-H from flash or a network server, and be able to immediately begin servicing virtual guests. This stateless model drives down OPEX and enables the scalability required by terascale grids, large datacenters and cloud class compute environments.

Red Hat also announced two new virtualization management offerings, both part of the new RHEV family. Open source, which has traditionally been exceptional at developer, platform and infrastructure technology, will now bring innovation and value to IT admins managing 1000s of virtual desktops and servers.

Red Hat’s commitment to open source is more than a marketing statement, it underlies our fundamental belief that open source drives innovation faster and cheaper. Today marks a tangible proofpoint which will influence the future of IT architecture for the next generation.

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