(The Virtualization Matrix has been updated with RHEV 3.2 and new cloud related content)

Following public announcements at its summit in June, Red Hat made significant updates to its cloud portfolio as well as its Enterprise Virtualization platform (RHEV) available in June and July 2013.

The two predominant improvements in RHEV were the full support for live storage migration and a new plugin framework that allows third parties to provide new features and actions directly into the RHEV management user interface (a full list of new features follows below).

Red Hat’s cloud portfolio had a major overhaul, announcing the new “Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure”.
This will be a welcome move after Red Hat’s initial release of its CloudForms IaaS offering in 2011 (re-positioned in 2012 as hybrid cloud offering) had not the desired impact in the Enterprise (competing against a mature VMware vCloud offering and upcoming open source based cloud offerings).

Additionally Red Hat had to react to OpenStacks increasing influence and decide whether to compete against or benefit from the OpenStack momentum. Red Hat early indicated its commitment to facilitate an OpenStack based approach and announced a commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform in June 2013.

Core to Red Hat’s cloud revamp was the acquisition of ManageIQ in January 2013, adding significant management capabilities to Red Hat’s cloud platform.

RHCI sets out to unify RHEV and the RHEL OpenStack Platform under a common CloudForms management layer

As a result the new Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure (RHCI) sets out to unify RHEV and the RHEL OpenStack Platform under a common CloudForms management layer that features the enhanced ManageIQ based capabilities in order to provide an open hybrid cloud approach (new structure explained below).

VMware will leverage its maturity and market share in the enterprise, Microsoft will compete on price, Citrix targets Service Provider clouds …

What will Red Hat’s “niche” be?

At the same time (my personal view) Red Hat is facing a challenge of “identity” and “niche” in this market due to the recent dynamics in the industry. While VMware will continue to leverage its established market share and product maturity in the enterprise, Microsoft will aggressively compete on price with a quickly evolving “all inclusive” virtualization and cloud portfolio around its strong Windows Server / System Center ecosystem. Even Citrix is successfully carving out a niche for its mobile, desktop and networking services on CloudPlatform targeting Service providers.

Red Hat is facing the challenge of an increasing ecosystem trying to capture mind share with the same “open cloud” message

While it will continue to successfully carry the message of “open cloud”, it is facing the challenge of an increasing ecosystem trying to capture mind share with the same message based on OpenStack and other emerging OSS cloud technologies. When it comes to OpenStack, Red Hat will compete against a large number of OEMs and ISVs developing management stacks around the same community developed cloud foundation Red Hat is now hedging its bets on.

The management capabilities added through the ManageIQ acquisition will be a massive help and as long as Red Hat can succesfully integrate ManageIQ into the CloudForms management layer, eliminate overlap in functionality and merge OpenStack and RHEV capabilities seamlessly under this layer it will be well positioned to compete in this space, after all, ‘openness’ is Red Hats natural domain … .

OK, so what’s new:

RHCI is a single-subscription offering that bundles and integrates the following products:

  • RHEV: Datacenter virtualization hypervisor and management for traditional Enterprise workloads
  • Red Hat OpenStack: Scalable, fault-tolerant platform for developing a managed private or public cloud for cloud-enabled workloads
  • Red Hat CloudForms: Cloud management and orchestration across multiple hypervisors and public cloud providers
    CloudForms 2.0 is essentially a rebranded version of ManageIQ EVM Version 5 (product documentation here)

If you are not entirely clear on the relevance of differentiating between “Enterprise” and “Cloud enabled” workloads I can only suggest to read Massimo Re Ferre’s (as always) excellent article on this subject (even if the comparison is OpenStack v vCloud Director).

RHEV 3.2 – What’s New

While the two predominant improvements were the full support of live storage migration and a Framework for third party plugins, there were several additional enhancements:

  • Licensing:
    • New ‘Per Socket’ Licensing
      • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Premium: $1,498/socket-pair/year
      • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Standard: $998/socket-pair/year
    • Desktop Virtualization now included in RHEV subscription (no additional cost)
  • Internationalization: 
    • Localization of Web admin portal, user portal, documentation and landing page
    • Automatically detected from browser preferences
    • Supports manual selection to override browser default
  • Framework for 3rd party UI plugins for RHEV Manage
    • Enables third parties to integrate new features and actions directly into the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization management user interface.
    • New menu items, panes, and dialog boxes allow users to access the new functionality the same way they use Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization’s native functionality
    • Early examples are: NetApp’s Virtual Storage Console (VSC), Symantec’s Veritas Cluster Server and HP’s Insight Control for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization
  • Networking
    • New top level network management UI
    • Network ACLs: Apply Permissions / ACLs on logical networks, new role “NetworkUser”
    • Hot Switch: Switch virtual/logical network on running vNic
    • Statistics: Enhanced statistic and configuration collection from guest, Report all guest network interfaces, Report IPV6 addresses in addition to IPV4
    • Support E1000 nic for Windows VMs (in addition to VirtIO & RTL8139)
    • VDSM Hook for hot-plug events
  • Storage
    • Full support for live storage migration (from tech preview in 3.1)
    • Support migrating multiple disks from same virtual machine
    • Scan storage domain for new (orphaned) images, Import images into storage domain (API only)
    • Remove VM without deleting virtual disks
  • SLA/QoS
    • Support host CPU pass through (delivers optimal performance at the expense of migration)
    • Ability to define handling of Hyperthreads (count threads as cores)
    • Quota in User Portal (all user see breakdown of quota consumption in self service portal)
  • Operational
    • Delete Protection – Allow admin to set ‘do not delete’ on virtual machine, prevents accidental deletion through UI and API
  • VDI
    • UI / API support for Smartcard (CAC & PIV)
    • Dynamically change guest resolution by resizing client window
    • Ability to configure Configure proxy server for Spice protocol
    • Set per-device settings for console (VNC, Spice & RDP)
  • Platform
    • New reports including storage inventory, cloud provider utilization & VDI
    • Support for multiple Power Management (fencing) agents per host, Configure proxy selection for Power Management at DC/Cluster level

### Archived Article – thanks to Andreas Groth – WhatMatrix Community Affiliate (originally published on Virtualizationmatrix.com) ###

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