At VeeamON 2021 we made a significant new product announcement which was the unveiling of Veeam Backup for Red Hat Virtualization. While this might not be the final product name, the intent and direction of this announcement means that we will soon add supportability for a fourth hyper-visor meaning that we will cover VMware, Hyper-V, Nutanix AHV and RHV. We will take advantage of Change Block Tracking needed for optimized, backup and recovery of RHV. There isn’t too much more info that we can share at the moment, but suffice to say this supportability has been must requested over the past twelve to eighteen months. With that I thought it be interesting to give some initial thoughts around RHV and how it’s positioned today.
I remember trying to setup a KVM hosting platform back around 2010, but it just wasn’t suitable at the time. Too many caveats meaning too much overhead compared to VMware and even Hyper-V back then. That was then… now is now, and while its indisputable that VMware dominates the hyper-visor enterprise and service provider markets, it has become clear to me that there is a strong appetite for KVM based hyper-visor deployments led by RHV built upon Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Red Hat Virtualization is an enterprise virtualization platform that supports key virtualization workloads including resource-intensive and critical applications, built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux® and KVM and fully supported by Red Hat.
Through the last twelve years what is now RHV has gone through a number of releases with the current 4.x version released as Red Hat Linux in 2016. Since then the feature list compared to other hyper-visors has improved
- 4.0 – released August 24, 2016. Rebranding to Red Hat Virtualization.
- 4.1 – released April 19, 2017.
- Support for QCOW3 image format.
- Hot unplug CPUs (limited to CPUs that were previously hot plugged).
- VMs with SR-IOV can now be live-migrated.
- Ability to sparcify thinly provisioned disks when VM is shut down.
- Up to 288 vCPU per VM.
- RHV Host images now also include tcpdump, screen.
- 4.2 – released May 15, 2018. Brings ease-of-use, automation, and continued tighter integration with the Red Hat portfolio
- 4.3 – released May 15, 2019 which includes Guest Time Synchronization, among other enhancements.
- 4.4 – released Aug 4, 2020 which includes improved integration with Red Hat OpenShift, among other enhancements.
What is interesting is that in the service provider world, there has been for some time now some thirst to move away from VMware due to a number of reasons…though my belief is still that is you where starting fresh as a service provider, vSphere, NSX and Cloud Director still represents the best hosting platform.
Platform Management and Automation via oVirt
oVirt is like the VMware Cloud Director of this KVM/RHV world… it certainly has a long long way to go to compete with VCD, but the ground work and features are there int he current 4.4.6 release. This open source project matches closely with version of RHV and KVM and is the glue that puts the underlying RHV layer together in a consumable way for enterprises and service providers.
oVirt is an open-source distributed virtualization solution, designed to manage your entire enterprise infrastructure. oVirt uses the trusted KVM hypervisor and is built upon several other community projects, including libvirt, Gluster, PatternFly, and Ansible.
Some basic features include:
- Rich web-based user interfaces for both admin and non-admin users
- Integrated management of hosts, storage, and network configuration
- Live migration of virtual machines and disks between hosts and storage
- High availability of virtual machines in the event of host failure
The maturing of oVirt has gone hand in hand with KVM/RHV becoming desirable again.
Since digging into this world again, I have been somewhat surprised at the thirst for KVM/RHV adoption but the reality is that some enterprises and service providers are moving off VMware. Veeam needs to be positioned to still protect those workloads no matter where they live and with the announcement of Backup for RHV at VeeamON 2021 we have shown clear intent to help support those existing and potential customers backup their workloads… not matter what platform they are on.