As expected when I posted about Citrix's virtualization "initiative" on Monday, August 31, Red Hat has announced general availability (GA) of its newest virtualization functionality as part of the latest release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) announced September 2. The 5.4 release supports both private and public clouds, support for enterprises and ISVs, and promises future management capabilities for both server and desktop virtualization. The activity is an outgrowth of the September 2008 acqusition of Qumranet by Red Hat.
Announced at the Red Hat Summit held in Chicago the week of August 31, the RHEL announcement follows up on an Intel/Red-Hat technology effort announced by Red Hat at its Summit in Boston in June 2008. Cisco, Dell, HP and IBM are also key partners.
Red Hat says that because
"With (its new) virtualization technology (KVM) that is developed as an integral part of the Linux kernel, Red Hat Enterprise Linux offers the next generation of virtualization technology."
But the company said that RHEL customers deploying previously integrated Xen virtualization (which of course is now "owned" by Citrix, although that was not the case when Red Hat first started working with Xensource) will continue to be supported through the full 10-year lifecycle of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (currently in year 3 or 4). Red Hat emphasized that it was not about lock-in to KVM; users can mix and match the latest RHEL with its other features and other virtualization technologies, contrasting itself with VMware and Citrix (and presumably Microsoft).
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 is GA as of September 2, 2009, worldwide and is automatically delivered to customers with an active subscription.