Archive for August, 2009

RHEV: Dark Horse or New Dynasty?

Questions about the impact of RHEV

Well, I am off to the far side of the planet in a few days, and will not have access to electronic communication, this is by design, not by circumstance. Moreover, this entry in the blog will be the last before VMworld 2009, given the above statement. With these topics addressed, on to the topic at hand. RHEV, RedHat Enterprise Hypervisor, in an interesting prospect, from one perspective 6 or more years behind VMware, 2 years, cough, behind Microsoft, and everyone else in between. Is RHEV going to be a Linux only hosting hypervisor, well by design no, but in reality, maybe? What of application virtualization, which is growing, even before massive corporate clouds are common place?

Who is going to jump to RHEV to run Windows? It is clear that RedHat wants to make RHEV as inviting to Windows community as possible with the RHEV Manager layered on IIS and .Net based? Of course RedHat will release a Linux variant of RHEV Manager that will run on, say Apache. But with the beta of RHEV out to key entities, RHEV Manager is .Net based. Interesting, madness or genius? Not sure I could qualify or even quantify the answer!

My initial experience with RHEV beta has been a mixed bag of minor successes and failures, as with any new platform, some things just do not work or react as expected. The interface is interesting, any one that sees it I believe will be reminded a bit of the VMware MUI of the past, it did for me, when I first saw RHEV Manager. At a minimum I expect the interface will change over time, and with many enterprise clients using their own favorite life-cycle and/or work-load manager solutions, direct use of RHEV manager may be less significant than such tools where in the past.

The question that keeps bubbling up to the surface of my perceptions is the same as the title above. RHEV, Dark Horse or New Dynasty? Can KVM survive better than Xen has as an open source platform in the shadow of the Citrix ownership with RHEV now reality? As I have said before I think so, and now that I have spent some time with RHEV, I continue to believe that Xen is under threat; RHEV has just clouded up the water around Hyper-V and vSphere, bad pun intended. Thus, here are my questions, about RHEV that I will be interested in, and I believe others will be considering as well between now and when RHEV is released…

  • How many Linux based environments are only using Xen or KVM or VMware because RedHat had not as yet released a solution of their own?
  • How many environments will use Hyper-V versus VMware regardless of RHEV?
  • Does RHEV do Windows better than VMware and even Microsoft? Now that will be a very interesting question! RHEV and Core seem similar, but are they?
  • How well will NetApp, EMC, etc. support RHEV?
  • Will corporate security teams accept RHEV as a locked down, or even stateless appliance, in the same fashion as ESXi?
  • Not being a fan of Ovirt, at least not a fan, yet, will RedHat walk away from libvirt or ovirt over time?
  • KVM on traditional Linux may be a real competitor to RHEV, given that the parent Linux partition maybe the key platform and KVM virtual instances are just used to leverage that last 20% of a server that management thinks is going to waste?

Well, questions, and more questions? Believe it or not, I like this! I think all of us were getting way too comfortable with the world of virtualization as we know it, knew it? Well at least I was. Maybe the best aspect of RHEV is not that it exists, but that between KVM and RHEV, both Microsoft and VMware should be motivated to get off their collective back ends, and innovate the next generation of virtualization, not purchase it? Oh, and I did I mention Microsoft and VMware will have to reduce their cost models as well? I am sure RedHat has not missed the fact that the days of expensive virtualization platforms, no matter how much is saved by server consolidation or higher adaptation rates to virtualization versus traditional hardware, are gone forever.

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