Wednesday, 03 March 2010 18:30

Red Hat sees three-way struggle for virtualisation space

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Red Hat sees the virtualisation market developing into a three-way fight between itself, Microsoft and VMWare as the technology is increasingly taken up in the business space, Red Hat's senior director of virtualisation, Navin Thadani, said today.

However, he said, the advantage would lie with the two operating system companies, adding that although Novell and Citrix had teamed up to contest the same space, they stood more of a chance in the desktop virtualisation arena.

Thadani (below, left) was joined by Frank Feldman (below, right), senior product manager, Asia-Pacific, and Max Mclaren, managing director for Australia and New Zealand.

A Red Hat-sponsored survey in Australia and New Zealand recently showed that 79 percent of the more than 900 businesses and Government departments that participated had a virtualisation strategy in place. (Industry break-up here)

The survey, which covered organisations from IT, government, and telecommunications, to banking and finance, also found that 85.2 percent would consider an open source virtualisation solution.

Navin Thadani and Frank Feldman

VMWare is clearly the leader in the virtualisation market; Microsoft is in play with its Hyper-V product while Red Hat, which was backing Xen as its virtualisation medium, has now decided to go with KVM.

Novell has teamed up with Citrix to certify its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a guest operating system platform inside Citrix XenServe, but is also supporting a KVM-based project, AlacrityVM. Thadani said Novell's strategy was still unclear.


Red Hat customers who had implemented virtualisation solutions with Xen would be supported until the end of life of their contracts and were being encouraged to move to the new KVM- based solution, Thadani said.

The company launched its Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation for Servers (RHEV) in November last year. There are two components, the KVM-based hypervisor and RHEV Manager for Servers.

Thadani said Red Hat's strategy was based on what he called its record-breaking performance and scalability, its industry-leading security, the widest ecosystem of hardware and enterprise ISVs and the lowest total cost of ownership in its class.

The management tools on offer from VMWare are superior but Red Hat has managed to offer high availability, a system scheduler and storage management, and live migration. VMWare's Storage VMotion - the live migration of virtual disk files - and Consolidated Backup are features that Red Hat's solution does not yet offer.

Some time back, Red Hat decided to drop any focus it had on the desktop market and concentrate on the server market. However, Thadani said that the company would develop tools to enable it to contest in the desktop virtualisation space too.

GNU/Linux deployments are difficult to measure because the operating system is freely available. Thadani said figures were available for the paid-for Linux space and Red Hat had around 60 to 70 percent of the server virtualisation market in this area.


In the survey mentioned earlier, more than 85 percent said virtualisation was "extremely important" or "very important" for their organisations' future. Those who had a virtualisation strategy in place said cost savings (80.3 percent) and reduced data centre footprint (69.6 percent) were two of the main benefits.

As to savings realised due to the adoption of virtualisation, the responses varied from more than a billion dollars to some 60 percent of the IT hardware budget.

Ease of management (66.9 percent), reliability (65.2 percent), ease of deployment (61.5 percent), performance (59.3 percent) and cost (59.2 percent) were criteria used to pick a virtualisation solution.

'Our investigation into virtualisation has uncovered interesting findings, some of which confirm key trends that we have seen developing in organisations across the country, such as the desire to use virtualisation to carve out costs,' McLaren said.

"It is clear that Australian businesses, which are well-versed in leveraging virtualisation, are looking for an alternative to the historical offerings in order to achieve the flexibility and choice that they have come to enjoy from  open source leaders like Red Hat.'

Asked what kind of projections Red Hat had made while deciding on its virtualisation strategy, Thadani refused to get into specific numbers.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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