IBM and Red Hat Join Forces to Power Enterprise Virtualization

Adam Jollans is the Program Director  for Cross-IBM Linux and Open Virtualization Strategy
IBM Systems & Technology Group

IBM and Red Hat have been teaming up for years. Today, Red Hat and IBM are announcing a new collaboration to bring Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization to IBM’s next-generation Power Systems through Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Power.

A little more than a year ago, IBM announced a commitment to invest $1 billion in new Linux and open source technologies for Power Systems. IBM has delivered on that commitment with the next-generation Power Systems servers incorporating the POWER8 processor which is available for license and open for development through the OpenPOWER Foundation. Designed for Big Data, the new Power Systems can move data around very efficiently and cost-effectively. POWER8’s symmetric multi-threading provides up to 8 threads per core, enabling workloads to exploit the hardware for the highest level of performance.

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization combines hypervisor technology with a centralized management platform for enterprise virtualization. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor, built on the KVM hypervisor, inherits the performance, scalability, and ecosystem of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux kernel for virtualization. As a result, your virtual machines are powered by the same high-performance kernel that supports your most challenging Linux workloads.

Enterprise organizations seeking to optimize their virtualization environments must be able to centrally manage the full range of virtual machine dependencies, including storage and networking. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization includes Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager, a centralized management console that can manage hundreds of hosts and tens of thousands of virtual machines.  Through the management interface, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization provides the flexibility of managing a mixture of x86 and Power Systems. While the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization management server runs on an x86 architecture platform, it can now manage clusters of Power architecture hosts, as well as separate clusters of x86 architecture hosts – all from a single pane of glass.

In addition to the benefits of centralized management of the virtualized infrastructure, the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Power provides simplified use to some of the more advanced functionality of KVM:

  1. High Availability – If one host were to go down or lose the ability to use virtual machines, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization quickly migrates those virtual machines to  other hosts within the environment to minimize downtime.
  2. Live Migration and Storage Live Migration – Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization can move a virtual machine from one host to another for preventive maintenance without downtime. This means end users continue to enjoy access the virtual machines if it is necessary to deploy patches or install updates to a host.
  3. Intelligent Load Balancing – Because of the shared nature of virtualization , it user want to avoid  one VM affecting the performance of another. In the event that one VM begins to impactthe performance of another, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization balances the workloads to mitigate the potential impact so that operations continue smoothly.
  4. Centralized Template Management – Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization provides the ability to build and manage templates for virtual machines and provision them to another host with a few mouse clicks, enhancing the ability to provision new virtual machines rapidly.
  5. Self-Service Portal for Quick Provisioning – Users who consume the virtual infrastructure services – particularly in a lab or test and development environment – need to be able to spin up virtual machines quickly. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization’s full self-service portal allows these users to log in, provision their virtual machines, shut them down, and have control over the part of the environment that they have been allocated without having to go through IT staff requests for provisioning.

Together, the integration of IBM POWER8 – with its capabilities for high performance – and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization’s enterprise virtualization and management features provide a strong combination – particularly for larger enterprise deployments and mission-critical applications.

The Value of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Power Systems

For those IBM Linux on Power Systems customers that have not yet fully virtualized their infrastructure, they will be able to now deploy Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and easily leverage the opportunities that virtualization provides. And, for users that move into open applications and frameworks with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, this provides a great opportunity to have access to Power and the flexibility that the next-generation POWER8 architecture provides. All software for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Power will be provided through Red Hat, with tier 1 through tier 3 support available.

In addition, Red Hat has just released the beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 which includes a version for Power processors running in little endian mode. This enables users and ISVs to easily move Linux on x86 applications to Linux on Power Systems with minimal or no porting, and is just another example of Red Hat and IBM working closely to provide better features and functionality to our joint customers. To learn more or sign up for the beta, visit https://access.redhat.com/documentation/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/.

And stay tuned for more in 2015. We expect the adoption of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Power as a  supported platform to evolve and expand over time. We see this as only the beginning of a larger Red Hat collaboration with IBM around POWER8.