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InfoQ Homepage News RedHat Shifts Virtualization Strategy from Xen to KVM

RedHat Shifts Virtualization Strategy from Xen to KVM

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Last week at the Red Hat Summit, Red Hat announced a new hypervisor based on KVM:

Embedded Linux Hypervisor — a lightweight, embeddable hypervisor for hosting virtualized Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Microsoft® Windows® environments. This hypervisor delivers virtualization with all the advantages of Linux - superior security, high performance and a wide range of hardware support - all in a small footprint that is easily embedded into servers and desktop computers. Red Hat is announcing beta availability of this hypervisor at The hypervisor is based on the KVM project (, which has been integrated into the Linux kernel since 2006. It supports live migration of virtual machines from system to system in real time and high availability features. KVM technology has rapidly emerged as the next-generation virtualization technology, following on from the highly successful Xen implementation.

It was also noted in the press release that IBM cooperated on the effort:

"IBM works closely with Red Hat and the open source community to drive innovation within the Linux kernel, said Daniel Frye, vice president, open systems development at IBM. IBM has a heterogenous approach toward virtualization, with KVM one of several options. KVM leverages the core features of the Linux kernel, including paravirtualization interfaces contributed by IBM engineers. By combining Linux virtualization infrastructure with open management interfaces such as CIM and libvirt, we gain a solution that eliminates lock-in and breaks down the barriers to enterprise wide adoption of virtualization.""

This announcement is particularly interesting given Red Hat's previous support of the Xen hypervisor. notes how Red Hat has lost influence in the project in the recent year:

...a series of dramatic events happened. First Microsoft signed a series of alliances with the some of the key Xen contributors: with XenSource, with Novell and with Virtual Iron. Then Citrix acquired XenSource in August 2007.

So, in less than one year Red Hat lost much of its capability to influence the Xen development despite it contributes to the open source project since the early beginning...

Former Red Hat VP of North American Sales, Billy Marshall, also notes the continued movement of traditional OS vendors to claim virtualization as a feature as an attempt to hold off bare metal hypervisors.

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