Red Hat and IBM: Open Virtualization Drivers

April 3, 2013

Radhesh Balakrishnan, global leader, Virtualization, Red Hat, and Jean Staten Healy, director, Worldwide Linux and Open Virtualization, IBM

As virtualization has grown to become a reliable mainstream approach to reducing costs, maintaining or even expanding performance and delivering flexibility to support business needs, it has become strategic to IT organizations around the world. At the same time, Red Hat and IBM have become leaders in Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) development and promotion, and Red Hat has distinguished itself by delivering the KVM hypervisor and corresponding management tools in Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization.

According to a recent whitepaper by analyst firm IDC entitled “KVM : Open Virtualization Becomes Enterprise Grade”, sponsored by IBM and Red Hat, KVM has made impressive progress since its inclusion in the Linux kernel in 2007, and adoption has grown especially in key use cases such as Linux server consolidation and cloud computing. The IDC whitepaper states that virtual servers outshipped physical servers by a ratio of more than 2:1 in 2012. The firm’s numbers also report that 55% of all installed workloads as of the end of 2011 were virtualized and new workloads are being virtualized at a rate of 67%. IDC also finds that hypervisors competitive to VMware, such as KVM, are offering enterprise customers more and more choice.

Red Hat and IBM’s long collaboration, originally formed around Red Hat Enterprise Linux, has expanded to focus on virtualization as well. The two industry leaders began collaborating around open virtualization many years ago, and this has continued to evolve with the fast pace of innovation delivered through KVM. Both organizations play a leadership role in the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA), which they helped to form in 2011 as founding members. The OVA promotes the growth of KVM’s ecosystem in the marketplace, and as membership in the OVA has grown and become more diverse, it has opened opportunities for KVM deployment in areas such as: server, storage, networking, management, OS, security, business applications and has established itself as one of the most popular foundations for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds. IBM has also utilized KVM and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization as the underpinnings of its own public cloud offering, IBM SmartCloud Enterprise.

In mid 2012, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, in conjunction with the KVM hypervisor on IBM Systems, were each also separately awarded Common Criteria Certification at Evaluation Assurance Level 4+. These certifications paved the way for the KVM hypervisor and open virtualization to be used in homeland security projects, command-and-control operations and throughout government agencies.

Graphs in the IDC whitepaper also show that many users would like to combine multiple hypervisors, with as many users choosing to deploy an open source secondary hypervisor as those who would deploy a proprietary one. Over half of those surveyed said they would choose to build a cloud on a new hypervisor, as opposed to their existing system.

These proof points signal a bright future for KVM, as open virtualization takes its place in the enterprise.

Learn more about IDC’s perspective on the virtualization industry in the IDC whitepaper, sponsored by IBM and Red Hat, “KVM : Open Virtualization Becomes Enterprise Grade” February 2013.

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