Three strategic virtualization initiatives were the stars of the show as Linux powerhouse Red Hat opened its Red Hat Summit today in Boston. What do the Red Hat moves mean to you? More options in open source virtualization tools and a new open source effort around virtualization security, for starters.\n\n\nThe Red Hat move that will catch the eye of most users is the Embedded Linux\nHypervisor, oVirt. This is a\nlightweight, embeddable hypervisor that currently lets you run Red Hat\nEnterprise Linux and Microsoft Windows VMs (virtual machines) on Linux.\nWhat makes this more interesting than just another virtualization\nannouncement: you will be able to carry oVirt-customized VMs from\nPC to server to what-have-you in your pocket on a USB key drive, Red Hat says. \n\n\nThe open-source oVirt hypervisor, now available as a beta, is based on\nthe KVM project. KVM, in turn, has been an\nintegral part of the \nLinux kernel since February, 2007. In other words, this is not pie-in-the-sky technology. It's founded on existing virtualization technologies. \n\n\nAt this point, followers and users of Red Hat Linux may be asking, "What about Xen?" (the best-known open-source hypervisor technology to date.) Red Hat, according to Red Hat executive VP Paul Cormier, will continue to support both Xen and KVM. But, because\n"KVM is now baked in to the Linux kernel, it's very easy for both Red\nHat and other developers to work with it," Cormier says. For the time being, Xen will\ncontinue to be important, but, as time goes by, Red Hat sees KVM\nbecoming the dominant virtualization technology, he says. \n\n\nThe key difference: while Xen works well with Linux, it's an\nadd-on. KVM, on the other hand, is an integral part of Linux. For now,\nXen is the more mature of the technologies, but KVM is coming on fast\nand promises to be more useful for developers, Red Hat is betting. \n\nAt the end of the day, Red Hat sees KVM-based Linux distributions replacing operating system\ndistributions, which don't incorporate virtualization. In tomorrow's\nLinux, Red Hat sees virtualization becoming simply another standard\noperating system feature. \n\n\nWhile the idea of keeping a selection of virtual machines in your pocket\nis entertaining, Red Hat's Virtual Infrastructure Management technology is more \nlikely to grab a CIO's attention. \n\n\nThis set of management technologies for x86-based Xen and KVM\nvirtualization programs is also available at the oVirt Web site as a\nbeta. Red Hat claims that this architecture enables customers to\nimplement cloud, Software as a Service (SaaS), appliance and traditional\nserver infrastructures across one management platform. \n\n\nLast, but in the long run perhaps the most important of Red Hat's new\nvirtualization developments: Red Hat is offering virtualization\nsecurity management technologies. In the rush to cut data center costs\nwith virtualization, it's only recently that some CIOs have become painfully\naware that they needed management and security tools for their 21st century\nvirtual servers. \n\n\nRed Hat's new work in virtualization security is perhaps the least\nmature of the trio of technologies. Still, Red Hat is working to make it\npossible for administrators to manage identity and policy, while\nsimultaneously auditing system resources and application integrity. Want\nto know more about this project? Check into Red Hat's newly launched\nFreeIPA project site. Red Hat will be more than\nhappy to have open source community help in creating open-source solutions that could\nbenefit every company that's packing more and more work into fewer and\nfewer physical servers. \nLooking ahead, Stephen O'Grady, principal analyst with the open-source\nanalysis company RedMonk says,\n"Much as it has in the operating system and relational database markets,\nopen source is poised to have a disruptive impact on the virtualization\nspace, lowering costs for customers and offering alternatives to\nproprietary lock-in." \n\nBased on its announcements today, Red Hat intends to be a player in that disruption.