Red Hat Outlook: Clouds and Virtualization Everywhere

Technology from Qumranetm, which it recently acquired, is key to helping it take a stand against Microsoft.

At a conference for UK press this week, Red Hat added some detail to its plans for virtualization, cloud computing and application messaging.

Center of attention was Qumranet, the firm Red Hat agreed to acquire just last week for about US$107m. Best known for its KVM virtualization software, Red Hat sees the addition of the Qumranet technology helping to take it up against Microsoft -- the other company owning both operating system and virtualization components.

"From the beginning we saw virtualization as part of the OS," said Paul Cormier, Red Hat president of products and technologies. "We see ourselves as one of only two vendors that can provide a full solution."

Cormier suggested that adding KVM to its infrastructure stack will also provide a low-cost virtualization alternative -- the implication being compared to VMware -- with the assurance that core Linux developers will provide continued support because KVM is included in mainline Linux development.

"It's very promising virtualization technology," Cormier said. "It's clean [and] most importantly it's accepted into the upstream Linux community. It's a key point I'm not sure has come out as much as it should have. We want virtualization everywhere, not just for people who want to pay $6,000."

Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens also claimed that it had discovered a "hidden gem" in Qumranet's Solid ICE tools for virtualizing desktop infrastructure, suggesting that the ability to deploy both Windows and Linux desktops in managed environments could create an "inflection point" for IT managers seeking to simplify their estates.

Qumranet CEO Benny Schnaider said virtualization "density" -- in other words, the ability to run more environments on fewer servers -- and being able to handle sophisticated graphics under virtualization were crucial differentiating factors in favor of his company.

Separately, Red Hat, which recently announced pricing and testing for its environment on Amazon.com's Elastic Compute Cloud infrastructure, said that although cloud computing at an early stage, it expects the model to be successful as part of "three footprints", or models used by firms.

"Our vision in simple terms is there will be private networks [organizations] completely manage, semi-private networks, [and] networks that are off somewhere where users want to deploy resources and to spin them up for peaks and lows," said Stevens.

"[Also,] there's not going to be just one cloud out there. It's very important that there's federation out there. We're seeing a lot of customers wanting to build their own clouds too."

These include data centers being shared between companies and even between "friendly rivals", he added.

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