Red Hat buys desktop-virtualization vendor Qumranet

Linux vendor spends $107 million for kernel technology developer

Red Hat Thursday extended its virtualization wares to the desktop, spending $107 million in cash to acquire open source vendor Qumranet.

Red Hat Thursday extended its virtualization wares to the desktop, spending $107 million in cash to acquire open source vendor Qumranet, whose technology is based on a Linux kernel technology it wrote called Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), which it then took open source.

Qumranet's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) platform, called SolidICE, provides IT with centralized desktop and image management, high availability, and provisioning for desktop operating systems. Red Hat plans to tap SolidICE to enable Windows or Linux desktops to run in a virtual machine hosted on a centralized server. Users could access those desktops from PCs or network devices.

SolidICE also includes the Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments (SPICE), a connection protocol that lets clients to talk to the server; and a management system called the Virtual Desktop Controller.

Red Hat said the privately held Qumranet's development, test and support staff, including those that lead the KVM project, will join Red Hat.

Qumranet, named for the Qumran caves in Israel where the Dead Sea scrolls were found, was named by Network World this week as one of 10 open source software companies to watch.The Israel-based company counts the Commercial Aircraft Division of Israel Aerospace Industries among its customers, which also include several Global 2000 companies that the company refuses to name.

Red Hat said in a statement its long-term goal is to infuse servers and desktops with virtualization technology that is built into the operating system. This summer, Red Hat unveiled a beta for a KVM-based hypervisor called oVirt that can fit onto a 64MB flash drive and boot on virtually any piece of x86 hardware.

In a statement, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said, "Put simply, Qumranet's KVM and VDI technologies are at the forefront of the next generation of virtualization."

Red Hat's virtualization portfolio also includes Red Hat Enterprise Linux with built-in virtualization based on the Xen hypervisor.Microsoft also expanded its vision for the virtualized desktop, adding new features to its App-V technology and licensing options for users and service providers.In addition, HP announced the HP Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) with Citrix Systems' XenDesktop.

Virtualization is getting a workout ahead of industry-leader VMware's annual user conference, which kicks off Sept. 15. This week,

Microsoft also announced a partnership with Citrix, which is releasing a version of Citrix XenDesktop that will integrate with Microsoft's System Center Virtual Machine Manager when that management software ships later this month.

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