|By Maureen O'Gara||
|September 5, 2009 11:00 AM EDT||
In competition with VMware this week Red Hat trotted out Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4, the commercial point upgrade that includes its Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) mojo, which is integrated into the Linux kernel, a factor that should give it operating efficiencies like the 16 virtual CPUs it can support, double VMware, not to mention the added memory.
RHEL 5.4 is supposed to be the foundation for the company’s real thrust into virtualization and its portfolio of virtualization solutions.
Red Hat started with Xen and says it will continue to support it through RHEL 5’s 10-year lifecycle, but then it’ll be quits. That’s eight more years; time enough to migrate to KVM. There will be no Xen in RHEL 6.
Red Hat now owns Qumranet, the Israeli outfit that birthed the KVM hypervisor, giving it a measure of control it doesn’t have over Xen since Citrix acquired XenSource.
Red Hat is expected to come up with a way to get other people’s VMs working on KVM, starting probably with Xen.
It will support past Red Hat distributions as well as XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 as guest operating systems.
The KVM widgetry, which has been in beta since June, is supposed to improve I/O throughput and include additional tools for developers.
It’s also supposed to make Red Hat the first virtual machine vendor to support both Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (Intel VT-d) and PCI-SIG SR-IOV. That means multiple virtual machines in an Intel Xeon 5500 Series-based platform can share I/O devices directly.
It will be available on IBM, HP and Dell equipment.
Red Hat also expects to have a standalone KVM hypervisor, a management console and a virtual desktop infrastructure.
RHEL 5.4 also enhances the Systemtap performance monitoring toolset, including support for profiling and monitoring C++ applications, as well as a large number of static kernel tracepoints to simplify performance observation for the highest profile kernel subsystems.
And as a roadmap to future enhancements, it includes a preview implementation of the highly used malloc memory allocation library, which is tuned for the latest anticipated generation of multi-core processors.
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