We work in an industry with a rich history and a deep forgetfulness of that history. So when old things return to the spotlight, they seem new, again. Who remembers, for example, that open source virtualization is more than a decade old? Who cares? Rhetorical questions aside, the resurgence of interest in open source virtualization can be traced back easily to the unabated hype around cloud computing. Hype notwithstanding, for those Infrastructure-as-a-Service deployment models that need to run hundreds of virtual machines with Linux as the guest OS, an open source hypervisor is a great fit. If that open source hypervisor were to be none other than a standard Linux kernel loaded with a virtualization module, the benefits are easy to see. The kernel-based virtualization module inherits the performance, scalability, and security characteristics of the kernel. Enter KVM. Wrap it with the best practices of enterprise support for the leading commercial Linux distribution and you have RHEV. Deliver it with rock solid hardware platforms, flexible management interfaces, application deployment tools for the cloud, and pretty soon we have a vibrant ecosystem. Where does HP stand in this ecosystem?
Glad you asked.
As early as 2009, customers choosing KVM relied on HP BladeSystem and ProLiant servers as the foundation of their virtualization infrastructure. For example, ByteMark, a hosting provider in the UK, could improve their SLA from three 9s to four 9s by running Debian KVM on ProLiant BL495 servers with Virtual Connect Flex-10 modules.
Since Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 5.4, HP has offered full support for KVM on HP ProLiant servers, enabling our customers to deploy RHEL/KVM on ProLiant servers at scale. Today, RHEL and RHEV customers overwhelmingly prefer ProLiant servers for their hardware infrastructure. For good reason. You need only look at the SPECvirt_sc2010 benchmark published today that shows HP ProLiant BL620c G7 running RHEL (KVM) 6.1 (based on Intel Xeon E7-2870) at the top of the 2-socket and blade server virtualization records.
In our experience, customers deploying KVM to virtualize their Linux servers are adept at using a combination of home-grown tool kits with open source libraries to manage their virtual infrastructure. HP knows that Linux customers often have very different requirements for their virtual infrastructure than Windows and HP-UX customers so we optimize our platforms differently – in collaboration with Red Hat, we provide uniquely tailored reference architectures for RHEL/RHEV on BladeSystem and scale-up ProLiant servers.
You'll see us here at the Red Hat Summit today cheering Red Hat as they announce updates to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. And as a growing number of enterprises adopt RHEV-M to manage their RHEL virtual machines, they will find that HP Insight software complements RHEV-M by managing the converged infrastructure of servers, storage, and networking seamlessly under RHEV. Today, customers can run RHEV-M and Insight Control side-by-side to manage their virtual and physical machines in a BladeSystem infrastructure. We are working with Red Hat to fuse these seams into a unified management console – a single pane of glass – whether you chose Insight software or RHEV-M.
In the broader scheme of things, HP has always maintained that virtualization is just the first step in the journey towards an IT infrastructure that can respond instantly to business drivers – a hybrid cloud by any other name. So as customers deploy RHEV on BladeSystem at scale, we anticipate their needs will evolve. Many of HP’s leading customers today expect greater automation and elastic provisioning, monitoring, and management of the physical and virtual infrastructure to be delivered as a service. Their IT organizations want simply to select services from a catalog, have them turn on instantly, and pay only what they use.
RHEV customers, too, want this scale of automation in their private cloud. HP is working closely with Red Hat to integrate RHEV pervasively into the HP converged infrastructure strategy in general and CloudSystem Matrix in particular. Businesses deploying RHEV will then be able to take advantage of CloudSystem Matrix just as they do with RHEL and JBoss today. We look forward to disclosing specific details as the project matures. Our joint customers, who recognize more deeply than others that open systems are essential for innovation, can count on the HP+RH partnership to deliver on that promise.
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