Red Hat

Func: Fedora Unified Network Controller

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I recently started using a tool that I find very handy. It is named func and it is a remote api for management, configuration, and monitoring of systems. What does that mean exactly? I'll get into that but first a little background.

In my day job I manage a number of Linux systems. Some are servers and more are desktop machines in labs used by students. All of the lab machines are triple-boot (Windows XP Pro, CentOS 5.4, and Fedora 12). Fedora has a lot of updates... and it is hard to keep up with them. Typically I have to ssh into each machine to work on it but most of what I do is the same thing over and over again. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to manage multiple machines at once with one command line? That is what func does for you. func allows you to manage remote machines with one command line in parallel.

func was written by Fedora developers mainly to help them manage the server infrastructure that makes up the Fedora distribution's online public servers and build systems. They have an active mailing list that you are encouraged to participate in if you are interested in asking questions and helping to shape the future development of func.

func is written in Python and comes with a number of modules that are custom built for certain tasks. If there is an existing module for your task(s), use the existing module. If not, you can use the command module which basically allows you to run whatever command(s) you want on your remote machines.


Opinion: RHEL 5 turns 3, Suggestions for Red Hat

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (Tikanga) was released on March 14, 2007 and yesterday was RHEL 5's 3rd birthday. Since then we have gotten 4 update releases.

Given the fact that Red Hat's original plan was to have a new RHEL release every 18 - 24 months, one has to wonder where RHEL 6 is and why it is so late. My best guess is that RHEL 6 (which so far has had a non-public alpha release within Red Hat as witnessed in some Bugzilla reports) will come out sometime this summer... possibly in time for the Red Hat Summit in Boston (June 22-25, 2010). For that to happen I would expect a public beta for RHEL 6 to be released in the not too distant future. We'll see how that pans out.

While we are waiting, how about some idle discussion?


Video: KVM Architecture Overview

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I downloaded all of the videos offered from the Red Hat Virtual Experience 2009. They made them available as Ogg Theora .ogv files so I didn't even have to convert them. They are of moderate to low quality especially with regards to audio... so they can be a little annoying but the presentation material is generally top notch.

In this video, Andrew Cathrow of Red Hat spends about 23 minute explaining what KVM.

Video: RHEV Presentation

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The Red Hat RHEV presentation lasted for about an hour and forty-five minutes and I video taped it. I can only relase the first 23 minutes of the presentation which is where the slides ended. The demo after the slides contained details about the upcoming (and currently in beta) RHEV for Desktops product which can't be shared because it is subject to change between now and the GA release.

As an attachment to this article you will find the PDF of Tom's slides.

The video should work in Firefox 3.5 and above... or any browser that supports the HTML 5 video tag and Ogg Theora video. In-browser playback isn't always perfect so if desired, right-click on the video and select "Save Video As..." to download and play locally. The videos is approximately 105MB.

If your video player can't handle Ogg Theora then I recommend you check out VLC media player.

Initial Reaction: Red Hat releases the SPICE protocol

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Red Hat actually opened up the SPICE protocol yesterday during their Virtual Experience 2009 event. Somehow I missed that. Have a look at the press release if you are interested... as well as their site to house the new open source project - spice-space.org.

This seems to have caused some buzz in certain corners of the virtualization websphere (does anyone still use that word?) but so far no one has said what it could mean for us run-of-the-mill Linux users looking for a good, fast remote desktop protocol. I asked a couple of questions on the fedora-virt mailing list and received some informative replies. I haven't had a chance to actually check out the SPICE website in depth yet though. For those wanting technical documentation, I've attached their spice_for_newbies and spice_user_manual PDFs.

I did want to share with you my response to one of the articles about the SPICE release that I ran across. You can go there and see the context this came from but it is pretty self explanatory.


Review: Red Hat Virtual Experience 2009

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 Main Hall Main HallRed Hat held the Red Hat Virtual Experience 2009 today and it was awesome. What was it? It was a completely online conference that offered everything you'd find at a traditional face-to-face show like the annual Red Hat Summit.

I was hoping Red Hat would use this event to introduce / announce RHEV for Desktops but no such luck. I guess we'll have to continue to wait until January.

Virtual Areas

  • Conference Center - 15 presentations in three tracks with live video, audio and slides including chat submitted questions from the audience
  • Exhibition Hall - 3 regions, US region had 14 vendors with staffed booths offering public and private chat
  • Resource Center - 15 background items (PDF and Flash videos)
  • Birds-of-a-Feather - 4 Topics
  • Networking Cafe - Chat center with presenters and guests
  • Help Desk - Section for help with the virtual experience usage

Interview: Red Hat on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

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Red Hat released Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers on November 3rd. A couple of weeks before the release, I emailed Red Hat media relations contact Kerrin Catallozzi and asked for an interview with some Red Hat employees regarding Red Hat Enteprise Virtualization.

It took a several weeks to get the answers back mainly because the official product release happened... and after I had the chance to download, print and read the documentation, most of my questions had been answered... and I ended up coming up with all new questions. Kerrin found Andy Cathrow (Product Marketing Manager) and Jim Brennan (Senior Product Marketing Manager) of Red Hat to provide the answers. Andy Cathrow will be referred to as "AC" and Jim Brennan will be referred to as "JB".

BIOS:

Jim BrennanJim Brennan serves as Senior Product Marketing Manager for Desktop Virtualization at Red Hat. He is responsible for the market strategy and positioning of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops. Jim has over 12 years of experience in the development, management, and marketing of technology products.

Prior to joining Red Hat, Jim spent eight years with Internet Security Systems (now part of IBM), where he held positions in research and development, product management, and product marketing for various information security products and technologies.

Andy CathrowAndy Cathrow serves as Product Marketing Manager at Red Hat and is responsible for Red Hat's virtualization products. Andrew has also managed Red Hat's sales engineers.

Prior to joining Red Hat in 2006, Andy worked in product management for a configuration company, and also for a software company that developed middleware and messaging mainframe and midrange systems. Earlier in his career, Andrew held various positions at IBM Global Services.


[Update: - Dec. 9, 2009 - I got a chance to chat with Andy and Jim in real-time and ask several additional questions at the Red Hat Virtual Experience 2009 online conference. See the comment below the main interview for a transcript.]

Video: KVM in RHEL5

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Here's a presentation from the recent Red Hat Summit in Chicago about KVM in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 that was released this week. I must say that KVM has come a long way and I look forward to using it. I'm hoping that the OpenVZ folks will build a flavor of the OpenVZ kernel based on the newer RHEL 5.4 kernel that includes both KVM and OpenVZ support. That would be awesome!

I hope at some point they release all of their presentations as OGV files.

A response to "The Fedora-Red Hat Crisis"

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As seen on Slashdot and elsewhere is the Bruce Byfield article entitled "The Fedora-Red Hat Crisis".

I'd put this response as a comment to the article on the place where it was published but the site doesn't appear to have a comment system... but given all of the ads there, perhaps I missed it. Anyway... Bruce is inaccurate in a few points that I feel must be addressed.

Perhaps I should have done a better job with my references and as time passes I'll try to improve this... but I wanted to get it out there ASAP.


Qumranet Joins Red Hat - Lots of questions

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As has been reported elsewhere, take the front page of Red Hat's website for example, Red Hat has "acquired" Qumranet Inc for a little over $100 million. In a presentation a month or two back for the BozemanLUG meeting... I played some demo videos of Qumranet's Solid ICE product and discussed KVM. Just in case you weren't aware, Qumranet is the company that sponsors the development of the Kernel Based Virtual Machine which got merged into the mainline Linux kernel starting with version 2.6.20. KVM requires hardware support for virtualization to be present in the CPU (Intel VT / AMD-V).

Doesn't Red Hat already use Xen in RHEL?

Yes, Red Hat does use Xen in RHEL although they prefer the term, Red Hat Virtualization. Fedora added support for KVM some time ago... and Red Hat has been working hard to help KVM get to the point where it is mature enough to become a replacement for Xen. They have also been funding a number FOSS virtualization related projects (see oVirt for example) several which support KVM.


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