It's rare that a company like Red Hat would remove a high-end feature from its popular commercial operating system but that's just what it did. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.0 will ship without the Xen hypervisor. Instead, it will include Red Hat's own KVM virtualization. Has Red Hat done itself a disservice with this move? Is it alienating an entire user base?
Absolutely not, to both questions.
After Red Hat purchased Qumranet in 2008 (and acquired KVM in the deal), it no longer needed to support a second, competing hypervisor. The people at Red Hat and Qumranet are smart enough to successfully convert a Xen user base into a KVM one. KVM and the SPICE protocol are not only a welcome entry into the Virtualization space, they might be the best answer for those seeking a full virtualization answer to VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure).
I'm looking forward to seeing Red Hat 6.x for myself. We use RHEL extensively at my day job and are up to the latest current production versions there. We've all been impressed with performance and agility of the latest incarnations of this now classic Linux distribution and I'm betting that RHEL 6.0 won't disappoint us.
So, now when you're working on your motorcycle, be it actual or virtual, you'll have to do it without Xen but KVM will carry you through.
What do you think of Red Hat's decision to drop Xen?