Red Hat, as part of on going drive to wean enterprise IT organizations off proprietary virtualization technologies, today launched a set of Red Hat infrastructure migration tools and services.
Joe Fernandes, vice president of cloud platforms products at Red Hat, said that as organizations move to modernize their application environments by lifting and shifting them to the cloud, they are simultaneously looking to take greater advantage of open source virtual machines and containers specifically as an alternative to VMware.
The Red Hat initiative includes a consulting engagement as well as a pilot project that enables legacy application workloads to be deployed on kernel-based virtual machines (KVMs), an instance of OpenStack or the Red Hat OpenShift platform based on the open source Kubernetes container orchestration software. The core tool used to migrate those workloads is the Red Hat Ansible Automation, Fernandes said.
As management software stack the company now provides on top of those foundations has matured, Red Hat is finding more customers willing to consider transitioning away from commercial virtualization software, he noted. At the same time, he added, wider adoption of KVM by cloud service providers (CSPs) is making open source technologies a much more attractive option to foster deployment of application workloads across a hybrid cloud computing environment without having to refactor them.
Those two trends in combination, Fernandes said, are making it easier for Red Hat to make a case for organizations to move way from VMware.
Red Hat may have lost the virtual machine wars to VMware early on, but it’s clear the company is gearing up for a new phase. Many organizations have adopted an open source-first philosophy that Red Hat clearly is trying to exploit at VMware’s expense. At the same time, rising interest in alternative approaches to virtualization in the form of Docker containers and Kubernetes is creating another wedge that Red Hat is looking to exploit. For example, the company is testing Kube-Virt, an open source project that makes it possible to run KMVs within a container. Red Hat has already signaled its intention to apply that technology to other hypervisors as well.
It’s unclear to what degree containers and Kubernetes will be deployed on virtual machines and used in place of virtual machines altogether. Red Hat is prepared for either eventually, but Fernandes said virtual machines will continue to remain relevant in enterprise IT environments for many years to come. Reliance on container and virtual machines will come down to both the nature of the application workload and the relative cloud-native maturity of the organization deploying them, he said.
It also remains to be seen the degree to which VMware can stave off a new virtualization challenge from Red Hat. VMware has allied with Amazon Web Services and IBM in the public cloud, while partnering with sister company Pivotal to embrace Kubernetes running on top of VMware. The issue, of course, will be how much enterprise IT organizations are willing to pay for commercial virtual machine licenses in support of the initiatives.