Red Hat's server virtualization solution derives from the company's 2008 acquisition of Qumranet, a small company that had been building a desktop virtualization solution based on KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) technology. Unlike the hypervisors of VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix, Red Hat's virtualization does not rely solely on emulated hardware but uses paravirtualization wherever possible to map virtual machines directly to hardware via the /dev/kvmkernel interface.
While the original goal of Qumranet was desktop virtualization, Red Hat has moved the solution into the server virtualization space, supporting RHEL and Windows Server VMs, as well as Windows and Linux virtual desktops. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) boasts an easy install, good performance, and strong management capabilities, with features -- including automated load balancing and high availability -- to support larger environments. It also has some quirks.