Issue #17 March 2006

What is virtualization?


Virtualization first came on the scene in the sixties with the coining of the term "time sharing." Around that same time, IBM Watson Research Center started a project called the M44/44X Project. The work involved testing this "time sharing" concept where virtual machines (44X) were created to image the main machine, the IBM 7044 (M44). Soon after came the virtual machine monitor (VMM) giving the ability to create multiple virtual machines, each instance capable of running its own operating system.

Now, over four decades later, we are extrapolating on the fundamental technologies of virtualization, creating new, more efficient ways to manage resources and deliver services.

Virtualization is the next big step in the evolution of Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®. It's easy to see why. Some estimates say servers typically operate between 15% and 25% of CPU capacity. With virtualization, that could be improved dramatically, up to 80%.

It doesn't take an accountant to understand the cost savings in the process, whether getting the most from your hardware or reducing expenses in storage, space, hardware and utilities; not to mention simplified administration and increased reliability across consolidated servers and multiple operating systems.

On March 14, 2006, Red Hat announced a strategy called Integrated Virtualization, working together with AMD, Intel, Network Appliance and XenSource, as well as actively collaborating with the open source community. This goal is to create a virtualization environment and simplify deployment for customers.

Red Hat, in expected tradition, will work with the Fedora™ community to implement the model of open source collaboration, developing more robust and secure enterprise solutions. Fedora Core 5 will include the latest Xen 3.0 development branch, supporting both 32-bit and 64-bit x86 hardware. Also included is the Xen guest install script from Fedora developers, allowing users to set up virtual machines. Xen's advances in Fedora Core 5 represent a critical development in the future of virtualization on Linux.

Red Hat will tightly integrate Fedora Core 5 virtualization capabilities with all aspects of the Enterprise Linux platform for the final product release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. From management tools and installation to software management, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 will help customers deploy virtualized environments easily and effectively. Red Hat will also provide seamless integration and support for the Xen virtualization technology developed by the open source community.

The best place to get started is the Red Hat Virtualization Resource Center. The resource center is designed to help customers learn more and get ready now. It includes the latest information on new developments in virtualization, as well as updates as new technology is released. And make sure you keep an eye out for the Fedora Core 5 release.

Look to the summer of 2006, when Red Hat will make Virtualization Migration and Assessment Services available along with an Enterprise Virtualization beta. The next release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, version 5, is scheduled for general availability by the end of 2006, delivering performance tuned for a virtualization environment.

Resources:

Singh, Amit, An Introduction to Virtualization, accessed March 2006.

Wikipedia contributors (2006). Virtualization. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:37, March 14, 2006 from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Virtualization&oldid=43396576.

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