Dan's Take

Red Hat Rolls Out Version 4.1 of KVM Platform

Enterprise environments should take a look.

Red Hat has just launched Red Hat Virtualization 4.1. The company says that this product is "the latest release of the company's Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM)-powered enterprise virtualization platform." The goal, the company says is to provide  "an open source infrastructure and centralized management solution for virtualized servers and workstations." Red Hat describes some of the platform's upgrades:

  • Improved automation with Ansible by Red Hat, making it possible for end users to automate Red Hat Virtualization platform using a variety of Ansible 2.3 modules that enhance virtual machines, storage, network, and more.
  • Enhanced high availability without power management allowing virtual machines to be restarted even when power management fencing is not enabled or available, a feature that is key for multi-site clusters.
  • Advanced storage performance and scaling, with the Storage Pool Manager (SPM) now able to delegate storage operations to other datacenter hosts, allowing common storage operations to run in parallel for higher throughput. Additionally, advanced single storage performance and improved block storage management help administrators to remove snapshots faster when a virtual machine is not in use and help reclaim storage space from within the virtual machine, respectively.
  • Open Virtual Network (OVN) for Open vSwitch, available as a Tech Preview, provides software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities for enterprise deployments. OVN offers the ability to isolate overlay networking and subnet management in Red Hat Virtualization 4.1 for streamlined datacenter deployment and exposes an OpenStack Networking (Neutron)-compatible API to use with existing Neutron automation.
Dan's Take: Integrated Tools Simplify Enterprise Use
The key take-away of almost all of the recent Red Hat announcements is that the company is doing its best to take technology from quite a number of independent open source projects and meld them together into a tested, supportable platform for enterprise workloads.

While some would point out that one of the key benefits of adopting open source projects is the ability to tweak settings and integrate technology in ways that are best suited for the enterprise, others would point out that many enterprises have neither the time nor the inclination to take on a computer science project; they just want to get down to work.

Red Hat, like every other software supplier in the industry, has observed that x86-based workloads are increasingly being deployed in virtual environments. The company has been creating a computing environment designed to address business requirements while still offering computer scientists access to all of the knobs, dials and sliders found buried in open source software projects.

At least part of the move to more virtualized environments the industry has seen can be attributed to the fact that x86-based operating systems had, at one time, a reputation for not being able to adequately manage multiple workloads on a single machine. While this is no longer true, most IT decision makers have long memories and don't want to get caught by a platform that can't support the work being assigned to it.

Another reason is that enterprises just can't afford systems sitting around that are only partially utilized. Encapsulating workloads or workload components in virtual machines is a technique that makes it possible to cram many workloads onto a single system while still keeping them isolated from one another. Combining VM migration technology with tools that can monitor the environment to detect issues creates an environment as reliable as assigning each task to its own physical system. Once a workload is encapsulated, it's also much easier to deploy it on-premises, off-premises in a cloud service provider's datacenter, or some combination of the two.

This release addresses nearly all of the business requirements I've heard while speaking with Kusnetzky Group clients, and should be considered by enterprises wanting to deploy integrated virtual environments.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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