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On November 3, Red Hat announced general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers. How does the server virtualization offering from Red Hat compare to the one from Oracle?

  Oracle Red Hat
Packaging Oracle VM comes with the Oracle VM Manager management console Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor (REVH) comes with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Servers management console (REVMS)
Licensing Free to download, use and re-distribute both Oracle VM (GPL) and Oracle VM Manager (private source) Subscription
Pricing / Year (USD) $599 for 24x7 support per server with up to 2 sockets
$1,199 for 24x7 support per server with unlimited sockets
$499 subscription for 12x5 support per socket
$749 subscription for 24x7 support per socket
Hypervisor Xen 3.4 in Oracle VM 2.2 (Xen is also used by Citrix, Novell and other ISVs) KVM (through acquisition of Qumranet)
Supported Operating Systems Microsoft Windows 2000, 2003, 2008, XP, Vista
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.x, 4.x and 5.x
Oracle Enterprise Linux 4.x and 5.x
Microsoft Windows 2003, 2008, XP
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.x, 4.x and 5.x

As part of the launch, Red Hat did a comparison of its virtualization offering versus ones from Microsoft and VMware. In reality, the closest competitors are actually Citrix and Oracle, especially if Citrix does indeed release Citrix XenServer as open source. This means that both Red Hat and VMware would get squeezed by

  • Oracle VM and Citrix XenServer on the Linux side of server virtualization
  • Microsoft Hyper-V on the Windows side of server virtualization
  • Citrix and Microsoft on the Windows side of desktop virtualization

What's more interesting is that Red Hat pitches its offering for "heterogeneous servers and clouds." With a subscription-based licensing model and without a freely downloadable, re-distributable software, this strategy is going to be rather challenging to execute.

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