Red Hat pays US$107m in quest to transform virtualisation business

5 Sep 2008

Open source Linux powerhouse Red Hat has acquired software player Qumranet for US$107m in a deft move that will allow it to target the virtualisation market occupied by Microsoft’s Windows.

The acquisition includes Qumranet’s virtualisation solutions, including its KVM (Kernel Virtual Machine) platform and SolidICE offering, a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), which together present a comprehensive virtualisation platform for enterprise customers.

The company said the acquisition advances Red Hat’s efforts to transform the virtualisation market and drive comprehensive virtualisation technologies.

It said it can now deliver what other vendors can’t – a solution integrated with the operating system that can drive down costs while making IT infrastructure more flexible and responsive.

“This acquisition furthers our capability to widen the gap between open source and proprietary infrastructure software,” Red Hat’s chief executive, Jim Whitehurst, explained.

“Put simply, Qumranet’s KVM and VDI technologies are at the forefront of the next generation of virtualisation. They represent an opportunity to raise the bar and meet the market’s demand for virtualisation solutions.”

The Qumranet acquisition also extends Red Hat’s virtualisation solutions for managing Windows desktops. SolidICE is a high-performance, scalable desktop virtualisation solution built specifically for virtual desktops, not simply a retrofit from server virtualisation solutions.

SolidICE is designed to enable a user’s Windows or Linux desktop to run in a virtual machine that is hosted on a central server. It is based on the industry-leading Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments (SPICE) protocol, which overcomes key barriers to VDI adoption, including a superior user experience enabled by the SPICE protocol capabilities.

“With this acquisition, Red Hat has clearly positioned itself as a competitor within the Virtual Desktop market,” said Michael Rose, research analyst at IDC.

“KVM not only represents a competent platform for hosting virtual desktops and other workloads, but protocols such as SPICE will increase the performance that users can expect to experience from their server-based computing environments, making the platform viable for a larger set of users,” Rose added.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years