New Versions, Combinations

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2006-04-03 Print this article Print

Virtual Iron this summer will launch Version 3 of its virtualization and management platform, moving it off of its own proprietary hypervisor and onto Xen 3.0. Officials with the Lowell, Mass., company say the combination of Xen and on-chip virtualization technology from Advanced Micro Devices and Intel—due this year—will enable them to offer a product that gives users the same functionality as VMware technology but at a lower price.
"Theres not an account that VMware hasnt sold into," said Mike Grandinetti, vice president and chief marketing officer for Virtual Iron.
"Theyre everywhere. But what weve been hearing repeatedly [from customers] is, Boy, Id love to have an alternative." Virtual Iron Version 3 will include the Xen hypervisor and the companys virtualization software stack and management capabilities. It will come in three editions—for the open-source community, professionals and enterprise—and initially will be available for beta testing for Linux in July, followed by Microsoft Windows support in September. XenSource, a Palo Alto, Calif., company founded by the developers of Xen, this summer will roll out XenEnterprise, a packaged offering that includes Xen 3.0, guest installers and tools for migrating workloads from physical to virtual machines. Like Virtual Irons offering, XenSource also will take advantage of hardware-based virtualization from AMD and Intel to enable multiple operating systems—including Linux and Microsofts Windows—to run on the Xen virtual machines, and support both 32- and 64-bit environments, said CTO Simon Crosby. Last fall, XenSource had put another management product, XenOptimizer, out for beta testing. However, testers said they were more interested in a product that would offer them the Xen hypervisor and basic management tools, and enable them to use the management software they already had from the like of IBM and Hewlett-Packard, Crosby said. Given that, XenSource dropped XenOptimizer and developed XenEnterprise instead. SWsoft, of Herndon, Va., will announce that the OS-level virtualization software from the OpenVZ project is available for the open-source Fedora Core 5. That will come a month after the project announced the availability of the OpenVZ OS on the newest kernel from Novells SUSE Linux unit and on the 2.6.16 Linux kernel. In addition, a feature that enables users to move virtual machines from one physical server to another without interruption—dubbed Zero Downtime Migration—will be available for OpenVZ software. The feature is the same on found in SWsofts commercial virtualization products, said CEO Serguei Beloussov. He said he believes there will be an ample market for commercial virtualization products even if some software—such as OpenVZ—is available for free. Businesses—particularly the larger enterprises—will be willing to spend money for the benefits that commercial products bring, such as greater vendor support. The areas that companies like SWsoft and VMware will have to compete in will be management and support of virtual environments, Beloussov said. To that end, SWsoft also is announcing is Datacenter Automation Suite, a Web-based offering that enables users to order services—from provisioning and managing virtual machines to requests for server space and assessments of costs—from a single console. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.


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