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Red Hat Virtualization 4.2 updates include UI and DR enhancements

The latest updates to Red Hat's virtualization platform enhance enterprise-grade features. But despite improvements, it's still not a VMware killer.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Red Hat Virtualization 4.2 adds Ansible-powered disaster recovery automation options and a polished UI, but it's still not likely to win over VMware devotees.

Among the additions to the Red Hat Virtualization 4.2 release is a new interface that aims to more closely align with other Red Hat products, such as CloudForms. Also, disaster recovery features include enhanced automated failover and failback of DR processes. And a high-performance VM option streamlines the process of configuring a large VM for demanding workloads, like big data analytics.

Red Hat executives said they see an opening for the open source Red Hat Virtualization (RHV), as companies evaluate their investments in mature virtualization platforms against other emerging technologies.

"We think enterprises are definitely looking for lower-cost alternatives," said Gunnar Hellekson, Red Hat's director of product management, Linux and virtualization.

Will RHV 4.2 be a VMware killer?

IDC analyst Gary ChenGary Chen

Despite the improvements, analysts and customers at the Red Hat Summit said the product still faces an uphill battle to displace other hypervisors.

"I don't know if it's going to be a VMware killer," said IDC analyst Gary Chen. "It's not even a matter of features anymore. If RHV tomorrow had every feature VMware had, it still wouldn't change things very much."

Customers at the show who weren't already RHV users echoed the challenges Red Hat faces in growing RHV adoption. Joseph Green, a sys admin at Transamerica, a life insurance and investment firm based in Baltimore, said his company has slowly migrated to Red Hat products over the last several years, but faced pushback when the conversation turned to RHV.

I don't know if it's going to be a VMware killer ... If RHV tomorrow had every feature VMware had, it still wouldn't change things very much.
Gary Chenanalyst, IDC

"It's not in the cards," Green said. "We have a VMware team, and when we'd bring it up, they'd feel like, 'You're trying to take our jobs.' That's not an argument I want to have."

Red Hat Virtualization 4.2, the latest version of the KVM-based virtualization platform, is generally available today, but the product took a back seat to other news at the company's annual Red Hat Summit user conference. However, Red Hat executives did preview plans to bring container-native virtualization -- based on the open source KubeVirt project -- to OpenShift.

The KubeVirt project aims to allow administrators to deploy and manage VMs alongside containers on Kubernetes. While the project has limited use for production deployments, it would make it easier for developers to integrate traditional VM-based applications that interact with containerized applications into the same platform.

"We see a lot of people interested in containerizing a traditional app," IDC's Chen said. "This idea basically lets you use all of the container-based tools you might be using for containerized apps."

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