Desktop virtualization got a boost last week when Red Hat, Inc. purchased Qumranet, an Israeli Open Source company that specializes in virtualization solutions. Its product offerings include KVM (Kernel Virtual Machine), Solid ICE, and SPICE. This acquisition brings Red Hat into head-on competition with such virtualization vendors as VMware and Citrix (Xen).

The significance of this purchase may not be immediately apparent but under the surface, Red Hat knows exactly what it's doing.

Desktop virtualization is the next big thing in corporate computing and Qumranet's high-performance products are ushering in this new age of virtualization. Say goodbye to traditional desktop computing and welcome back those thrilling days of yesteryear when terminals and mainframes ruled the planet. Thankfully, today's solutions are not as primitive as those dinosaur days of computing.
Contemporary terminals are smart terminals with a tiny embedded brain that does more than just snag an available IP Address and an X session. These new devices allow you to select from a pick list of hosts to which you connect at will. Many run embedded web servers that allow easy remote configuration. There are several on the market but the most of them are the new Wyse thin clients and the Panologic Desktop device.

The KVM virtualization scheme, designed and optimized for desktop virtualization, has the highest density virtual machine per server ratio currently available. Using standard architecture, you can configure a dozen or so virtual machines per server for heavy desktop use. The KVM, Solid ICE, and SPICE combination supports up to 50 desktop virtual machines per server.
This high density doesn't impede performance for the individual desktop either. Gone are the days of the silent and slow virtualized desktop terminal. Your desktop experience is rich, fast, and performance is no different than a heavy local operating system. You can use USB devices, enjoy live streaming sound and video (30+ fps), 32-bit graphics, and bi-directional audio and video for conferencing and soft-phone use.

To see a demonstration of KVM and Solid ICE technology, go to the Solid ICE Product Demo.

Red Hat scored big with this purchase and I am eager to see how this new partnership flourishes and changes the face of contemporary desktop computing.