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Red Hat notches up another KVM cloud win

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Commercial Linux distributor Red Hat has invested big bucks and years of development time to position its KVM hypervisor as a practical alternative to VMware's ESX Server and related tools for building clouds.

But it has also strived to present it as an open source product better than the Xen alternatives from Citrix Systems and Oracle, which can compete with the freebie Hyper-V from Microsoft and the KVM implementation cooked up by Canonical for its Ubuntu Linux. Now Red Hat has notched another design win for a public cloud.

Oxilion, a hosting provider located in Enschede, in the Netherlands near the German border, that is morphing (as many are) into a virtual infrastructure public cloud provider, has tapped Red Hat's Enterprise Virtualization, the enterprise-grade implementation of the KVM hypervisor, as the foundation for the pay-as-you-use Virtual Data Center cloud launched today.

Oxilion said it has been working for more than a year to put together the technology for its Virtual Data Center public cloud, and while not naming names, said that other alternatives were too costly and "the traditional proprietary licensing model was a barrier to innovation".

"In addition to proving prohibitively expensive, many vendors required us to report back on virtual machine numbers," explained Larik-Jan Verschuren, technical manager at Oxilion, in a statement announcing the VDC offering.

"This would have made it impossible to give customers the autonomy to create their own virtual machines. Red Hat’s license-free subscription model was, therefore, particularly appropriate."

Oxilion put together the VDC service in ten weeks, and created its own portal for letting end users to create, monitor, manage, and destroy their KVM-based virtual machines and the virtual storage and networks serving them.

Oxilion currently has three data centers in the Netherlands - one in Amsterdam, one in Enschede, and another in Zwolle - and over time hopes to build out seven data centers hosting clouds that can failover to each other. The company is already a partner with VMware and has been selling a disaster recovery failover service, called VMware UitwijkService (VMware Alternative Service) for companies that use VMware's ESX Server internally.

In March, Swedish on-demand movie and TV show service provider Voddler said it was building its service on RHEV. A few days later, KVM got a much bigger and cloudier endorsement when Big Blue said it was using RHEV as the foundation for the test and development portion of the IBM Cloud.

At the end of April, Japanese telco and service provider NTT Communications launched a cloud infrastructure offering called the BizHosting Basic virtual cloud service, aimed at small and medium businesses in Japan, based on RHEV.

Neither IBM nor NTT are going whole hog for KVM. IBM is peddling private versions of the same IBM Cloud infrastructure based on its System x rack and BladeCenter blade servers using VMware's ESX Server, and NTT has a product it sells in Japan, Europe, and the United States called the Global Virtualization Service that is based on ESX Server.

A lot of cloudy infrastructure providers are going to do both KVM and ESX Server, and many will do Xen and Hyper-V, and Parallels, too. But it looks like KVM, either from Red Hat or Canonical, could end up being preferred by those with Linux experience and a tight budget. ®

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