For a long time a number of contributors sponsored by Red Hat worked on a virtualization interface that could standardize the way hypervisors are managed, getting rid of the differences between vendors’ implementations.
The API is called libvirt and it’s around since early 2006.
Red Hat has a strong commitment on it, at the point that its imminent KVM-based virtualization offering is based on its, as announced in June 2008.
This is why the API is released under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) which allows the inclusion in any commercial product.
Through libvirt, a management platform running on Linux, Solaris, Mac OS or even Windows can already control both Xen, KVM, Sun VirtualBox, Parallels OpenVZ, QEMU, LXC and User Mode Linux (UML). But the best has yet to come.
The just released version 0.7.0 includes a number of remarkable new features, including support for the IBM POWER hypervisor and what seems a first attempt to support VMware ESX.
Of course this doesn’t mean that VMware will allow a product using libvirt to manage its flagship hypervisor without buying vCenter Server.
But for sure it means that in a near future Red Hat may be able to offer what Microsoft already offer with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM): the capability to control multiple hypervisors through a single management console. And this may be extremely appealing for some of those customers that already purchased vCenter.