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Red Hat details Xen virtualization plans

Raleigh, North Carolina-based Red Hat began talking positively about Xen in October 2004 and has included Xen open source virtualization in its Fedora community-led project since Fedora Core 4 was launched in June 2005.

That made support for Xen in the commercially-backed Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtually inevitable and the company’s chief technology officer and vice president of engineering, Brian Stevens, confirmed in November last year that it would be included in RHEL 5, due for release at the end of this year.

Supporting a technology and enabling businesses to make use of it are two very different things, and Red Hat’s latest announcements take that support to the next level. First up is Fedora Core 5, due for release this month, which will provide a preview of the RHEL 5 Xen support.

Stevens explained yesterday that while Xen was supported in Fedora Core 4 the focus was on building a para-virtualized kernel and not on worrying about how that would affect the rest of the operating system. With FC5 little is needed to enable the top shelf developers, what was needed was to get it into the hands of the masses.

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Fedora Core 5 will preview the work Red Hat has been doing on tool support and enabling the whole operating system to make use of virtualization capabilities, therefore, and will be followed in the summer by the beta release of RHEL 5 and Virtualization Migration and Assessment Services to enable customers to prepare for the general availability of RHEL 5, including Xen, at the end of the year.

In order to help customers prepare, Red Hat has also launched the virtualization resource center at, where potential users can find white papers, presentations and news on virtualization developments.

Back in November Steven talked to ComputerWire about plans for a Red Hat-led systems management initiative to enable the management of virtualized environments. While that will include enabling those environments to be managed by the Red Hat Network provisioning and management technology, Stevens noted that Red Hat will also work with XenSource to create APIs to enable the management of virtualized resources by third party software.

While Xen hypervisor and para-virtualization represent Red Hat’s virtualization approach of choice, Stevens also revealed that the company is interested in the Virtual Private Server or container approach taken by SWsoft Inc and its OpenVZ project.

We see a strong user case for lightweight containerized virtualization of Linux, said Stevens of the approach to create multiple virtual machine partitions on a single operating system kernel. It provides another set of user cases. Stevens noted that Linux creator Linus Torvalds has stared to accept container code into the kernel tree but that it had come just too late for Fedora Core 5.
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CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.