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Red Hat buys Qumranet, sidesteps Microsoft

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Red Hat has bought Qumranet, the company behind KVM virtualisation technology, for about $107m in cash.

The acquisition means open source software giant Red Hat will be able to offer a virtualised platform to Windows desktop customers without having to play nice with Microsoft.

Qumranet birthed SolidICE, the firm's take on desktop virtualisation, in April this year. The software ships desktop software from a data centre to a user's thin client or PC.

Red Hat said the buyout does not spell the end for the Xen hypervisor – at least not yet. “Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 will continue to implement Xen and no decision on timing for the transition from Xen to KVM [Kernel-based Virtual Machine] has been made,” said the company.

It will continue to support Xen through to 2014 and was at pains to point out that it has been working on integration between the Xen hypervisor and the Linux kernel. But Red Hat’s future looks decidedly KVM-shaped, a fact that could ruffle the feathers of virt partner, Citrix.

Red Hat president and CEO Jim Whitehurst couldn’t resist putting the boot in to Microsoft either.

“This acquisition furthers our capability to widen the gap between open source and proprietary infrastructure software,” he said. “Put simply, Qumranet's KVM and VDI [Virtual Desktop Infrastructure] technologies are at the forefront of the next generation of virtualisation.”

Lumbering iceberg Microsoft is expected to make some big noises about its own hypervisor technology next week.

Raleigh, North Carolina-based Red Hat, which alongside Microsoft has been something of a Johnny-come-lately to virt technology, also took a swipe at its other rivals. It claimed it could now “deliver what virtualisation-only vendors cannot: a comprehensive solution integrated with the operating system, which can drive down IT costs while simultaneously enhancing the flexibility and responsiveness of IT infrastructure”. ®

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