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Red Hat Wants to Make Headway in Desktop Virtualization

Red Hat Releases SPICE Code

SPICE Session at Cloud Expo

Cloud Computing Expo - Red Hat has open sourced a virtual desktop protocol it acquired last year, called the Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environment (SPICE) whose technology is close to other rendering protocols like Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol and Citrix's Independent Computing Architecture.

When Red Hat acquired Qumranet in 2008, it inherited SPICE used in Qumranet's commercial desktop-virtualization product, SolidIce. SPICE can be used to deploy virtual desktops from a server out to remote computers, such as desktop PCs and thin-client devices when running bandwidth intensive applications like video or voice over IP.

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Red Hat is currently using SPICE as one of the components of its Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops application, which will be released within a few months.By making SPICE open source, other companies can utilize it for their virtual desktop offerings. SPICE will support rendering virtual instances of Microsoft Windows XP and Windows 7, as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. At the server level, it runs on 64-bit Linux platforms. As more companies participate in SPICE, the offering would encompass more OSes at both the client and server level.

In addition to SPICE, the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops package will also include a barebone version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 5.4, packed with KVM virtualization module compiled in and a desktop management software .

"While open sourcing acquired technologies is only logical for Red Hat, the company is backing its release of the SPICE protocol source code as open source with supporting implementation code and components for server and client deployment," said Jay Lyman, enterprise software analyst with The 451 Group. "We're still very early on in the adoption of virtual desktop technology and standards, but an open source SPICE has real potential to build developer and ecosystem support and to serve as a common layer among different VDI options."

Red Hat has set up a Web site and a mailing list to build momentum on community efforts. For more information on the SPICE project, visit

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Lavenya Dilip was responsible for Marketing at Green Rack Systems.