Feeds

Will Red Hat come back to haunt the Open Virtualization Alliance?

IBM and friends RHEV anti-VMware crusade

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Open...and Shut In an attempt to cripple VMware's lead in enterprise virtualization, a posse of tech leaders decided to band together behind Red Hat's KVM in the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA), announced this Wednesday.

The irony, however, is that these same companies may come to rue their propping up of an already strong competitor, one they've already proved incapable of controlling in the Linux market.

Though OVA includes HP, Intel, IBM, and others, the reality is that it's all about Red Hat and its KVM technology. While Red Hat vice president Scott Crenshaw is quick to argue that "everybody wants an open alternative to VMware," this isn't necessarily true. Customers, for example, have been buying heavily from VMware. Red Hat's KVM, according to Gartner, has a market share of less than 1 per cent.

Red Hat, in other words, wants an open alternative to VMware. The other OVA members OVA simply don't want VMware around.

So consider OVA to be a "committee [that] boils down to following Red Hat" in its aim to dislodge VMware's hold on enterprise virtualization, as eWeek's Jason Brooks notes This isn't a bad thing: the market will undoubtedly be better for having a solid open source choice.

The problem is that it already does, and that choice is Red Hat.

True, it still has a tiny fraction of the overall market, but Red Hat's virtualization momentum has been growing at an accelerating pace, as the company reports each quarter. Red Hat already dominates enterprise Linux, and is finding more and more success cross-selling Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) to existing as well as new customers.

All of which makes OVA a tricky game for all of its participants to play – except Red Hat, of course.

If OVA is successful, its members may find themselves wanting to usurp VMware's usurper, just as years ago they rallied to the United Linux flag in an attempt to dethrone Red Hat.

That didn't work so well, now did it?

But maybe IBM, HP, et al. don't have much of a choice. VMware's dominance, after all, is a current reality. Red Hat's is only a possibility. IBM and company must be counting on being able to keep Red Hat in check as they use the open source leader as a pawn against VMware. History isn't kind to such faith-based partnering, but they apparently don't have a better alternative.

As Redmonk analyst Stephen O'Grady suggests, OVA is "essentially a crystallization of players with common interests." That common interest is in staving off VMware's dominance of virtualization and the private cloud market that will follow it. None of the participating vendors, from IBM to Novell, has any real interest in propping up Red Hat's lead in open source virtualization.

But they may do so, all the same.

Red Hat, for its part, must be hoping that this virtualization alliance will fare better than others that have cropped up in the past to counter VMware. Those failed. But maybe this time's the charm?

For Red Hat, it may not matter. As stated, its virtualization business is already growing fast. If OVA gives it a bump, great. If not, it's not going to slow Red Hat's momentum.

All of which leaves us with the question: why bother?

Matt Asay is senior vice president of business development at Strobe, a startup that offers an open source framework for building mobile apps. He was formerly chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfreso's general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open-source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open...and Shut, appears twice a week on The Register.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.