Spice and RHEV, a RHCE goes MCSE

I’m currently working in a project which includes some virtual Linux desktops. The desktop of choice is RHEL6.

How to bring a Linux desktop via WAN to a thin client? VNC -> are you nuts? Remote X11 over SSH -> WAN = no go. NX -> another vendor involved. SPICE -> Spicy! But: Spice over WAN? To be tested…

SPICE is the protocol used by RHEV (Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization). Some time ago I had the chance to test this stuff @Red Hat in Munich. The experience was nice, it is comparable to vSphere, but it only works with MS Internet explorer due to ActiveX and .Net stuff.

The management software needs to be installed on a Windows 2008R2 server. The database to be used is – you guess it – MS SQL. Users are authenticated either by Active Directory (Not generic LDAP!) or local Windows Users. Holy cow!

At first, when I got this product presented by Red Hat I was LOL. Now, it seems that I need to refresh my Windows knowledge because it seems to be the only product capable to provide enterprise ready Linux desktop virtualization. I’m crying 🙁

At least the hypervisor used is not MS HyperV, it is KVM based on RHEL5, to replaced with RHEL6 in the future.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel: Red Hat is working on a replacement of the Windows-bound stuff. It will be replaced with some JBOSS and Java stuff. The database will probably be PostgreSQL. It will take some time to develop it before it will be ready for production.

Since Red Hat is opensourcing all (or most) of its products, it would be great to get in touch with the upstream project (release early, release often).

In meantime I need to build up knowledge about Windows Server 2008R2, Active Directory, MS SQL Server and DotNet.

Having fun?

7 thoughts on “Spice and RHEV, a RHCE goes MCSE

  1. wariola says:

    U can now login RHEV VDI portion using Firefox on RHEL to get your virtual desktop (though I think it must be RHEL Desktop for that matter).

    Seems that they manage to get an extension of Firefox working for it.

    Tho I still think U need to use AD to authenticate.

  2. Andy says:

    Spice will work from firefox in Linux, there packages for that are on Red Hat Network. There’s also support coming for Spice in virt-manager through a gtk Spice plugin coming in Fedora 15. The upstream version of Spice and the version coming in RHEL 6.1 are optimized for WAN the version in RHEL5 will work very well on LAN but depending on your WAN bandwidth you may be constrained.

    The next version of RHEV (in beta soon) is 2.3 and that will have the “backend” management engine in Java (moving from .NET in previous releases) running on JBoss – a very important step in our project to move from a Windows management server to RHEL. This version will still use SQL Server.
    The 2.4 release – later in 2011 will remove all Windows requirements supporting PostgreSQL or MS SQL server and AD or LDAP.

    re: Open sourcing: Yes, absolutely we’re doing that for RHEV – we’ve spent the last year or so working on the migration effort. But already worked on open sourcing starting with the new REST API that we developed through an open source project on fedora-hosted, next step is the full stack, which were working on now.

    • Luc de Louw says:

      Thanks for you clarification Andy 🙂

      I know, the Spice client works well on Linux, the problem is the administration GUI which is only working on Windows.

      Meanwhile I made some tests with GPRS/EDGE (~126kbit/s), it works, like expected, not very well but usable. With HSDPA it works nice enought for the usecase. I think ideally the bandwith should be 256kbps or more, which is the case on that project. Spice version used on F14 (both server and client) was 0.6.3 (I think this is the same as used in RHEV).

      Regarding the open-sourcing: What is the name/URL of the mentioned fedora-hosted project?

      Good to know that its getting forward 🙂



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *