Solaris 10 to Get Xen Support by Mid-2007

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-06-28 Print this article Print

Full support for Xen will first be made available to OpenSolaris within the next four months, and will then be extended to the Sun-supported commercial version of Solaris 10.

Sun Microsystems plans to deliver support for the Xen virtualization technology in Solaris 10 by the middle of 2007. Sun is preparing to release to OpenSolaris sometime in July a snapshot of code that will run on top of Xen and which provides Dom0 (Domain zero) support using Solaris Dom0, which supports 32-bit and 64-bit Linux and Solaris DomUs, said Tim Marsland, Suns CTO of operating platforms, at a media briefing on virtualization at Suns San Francisco offices June 27.
Full support for Xen will then be made available to OpenSolaris within the next four months, and will be extended to the Sun-supported commercial version of Solaris 10 sometime in the first half of next year.
Asked who would provide support for that technology in Solaris 10, Marsland said he anticipated that this would initially be done by both Sun and XenSource, with Sun taking a greater support role as its expertise around this improved. "It is still early and we have not really started talking about that just yet." There has been much debate about whether Xen is actually ready for prime time. Click here to read more. Sun offered a number of virtualization technologies for Solaris 10, including support for VMwares products and its own container technology, as it believed customers wanted choice on the virtualization front. "Customers will be able to mix and match from among these offerings, which encompass both software and hardware virtualization. We need to provide both, as they have different profiles and uses, and the combination of the two is the winning one," Marsland said. Some 30 percent of its Solaris 10 systems in production are using containers, he said, adding that one-third of these are using Sparc systems, while two-thirds are on x86 hardware. Sun was also seeing a lot of adoption of the VMware virtualization technology by its Solaris customers, and is working with VMware to make sure its products run on Suns platforms. With regard to its relationship with XenSource, Marsland said they are working together on a number of initiatives and technologies. Click here to read more about how Virtual Iron and XenSource are nibbling away at VMwares market. XenSource and Virtual Iron are trying to create a direct open-source competitor to VMwares ESX product, which is unmatched for its ability to work on older hardware, he said, adding that the fact that Sun is working with XenSource has not affected its relationship with VMware in any visible way. While VMware is seeing competitive pressure from XenSource, Virtual Iron and Microsoft, it faces a challenge in moving up the enterprise stack as its technology precludes it from changing the operating system. The Windows hypervisor technology would also put pressure on VMware to become more embedded, while the more affordable Xen technology was putting that hardware virtualization firm under pricing pressure, he said. Asked if Suns approach in this regard was different to that of Microsoft, with its virtual machine software and which is also working on a hypervisor for Windows, he said their approaches are similar as Microsoft is also doing both hardware and software virtualization. Sun is talking to Microsoft about its hypervisor technology, virtualization and Solaris, among other things, Marsland said. Chris Ratcliffe, the director of marketing for System Software at Sun, said the company is also looking at virtualizing a10 Gigabit Ethernet, so this could then be shared, as well as how best to virtualize the network so it could also drive 40- and 100-gigabit infrastructures. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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