Virtualization at a Turning Point in Maturation
By Marie Lingblom
IBM’s and Red Hat’s alliance stretches back more than a decade. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0, officially launched this week, on IBM System X hardware is the latest collaboration both companies say delivers impressive performance, scalability and lower TCO compared to other virtualization solutions, namely VMware.
And, if you’d like to see for yourself, the two tech heavy-weights have launched an interactive virtualization demo facility at the IBM Solutions Centre in Sydney, in conjunction with the much anticipated Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 release, to demonstrate new virtualization and cloud computing solutions.
Those new to Red Hat can utilize the facility to experience proof-of-concepts, talk to experts on site and find out how to migrate from traditional virtualization architecture to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0, in order to virtualized critical enterprise server workloads.
Based on the Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) project, of which IBM is a key contributor, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is touting the ability to scale virtual machine environments beyond those of traditional x86 based virtualization technologies—which both companies say sets a new standard with virtual machine density by offering nearly twice that of any nearest virtualization competitor.
The virtualization demo facility is being launched with the promise for partners, customers and guests to experience firsthand virtualization as a “key enabler of cloud computing for facilitating the move from a virtual resource pool to a private and public cloud and back again.”
Max McLaren, vice president and general manager of Red Hat Australia and New Zealand, said the virtualization facility’s launch in collaboration with IBM aims to simplify the experience. “By giving our partners and their customers the opportunity to interact with core virtualization and cloud technologies, we can enable them to build highly effective, best practice solutions that meet specific business needs,” said McLaren.
Industry watchers were buzzing about Red Hat’s aim squarely at virtualization market competitor VMware. A couple of years and initial releases later, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 is now a Java application running on JBoss Enterprise Application Platform on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It provides more than 1,000 new features, enhancements and improvements, such as a power user portal for self-service provisioning, RESTful API, local storage, and promises a reliable foundation for cloud platforms—with “scalability and compelling economics,” according to the company.
In terms of pricing, the big difference between Red Hat and VMware, of course, is licensing, writes Joe Brockmeier of Read Write Cloud, an online channel sponsored by Intel and VMware. Red Hat doesn’t charge for licensing – it charges for annual subscriptions and support.
The licensing cost for VMware vSphere is nearly $40,000. The annual support/subscription costs for Red Hat and VMware are fairly close: $8,988 for Red Hat, and $9,877 for VMware. Red Hat’s still cheaper than VMware on that, but not by much. Still, over three years, VMware Vsphere Enterprise is 2.5 times more expensive than Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, concludes Brockmeier according to Red Hat pricing guidelines.
“The virtualization market is getting more competitive every day, and IDC believes that over the next couple of years customers will be looking closely at alternative solutions to supplement and/or replace existing products,” said Gary Chen, research manager, Cloud and Virtualization System Software at IDC, in conjunction with Red Hat’s market release this week.
Chen characterized Red Hat’s release as a “real turning point in the maturity of KVM.”
In addition to IBM, tech market leaders BMC, Cisco, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, NEC Corp., NetApp, and SGI have all charged out of the gate this week alongside Red Hat with collaborative solutions and support of benefits found in the open source development model as a “true strategic alternative to incumbent proprietary solutions.”