TECH ANALYSIS: Both IBM and Sun Microsystems offer virtualization technology for their systems, but IBM would probably phase out Sun's if the two companies were to merge. Sun's VirtualBox virtualization software has not been around long enough to gain a strong foothold among Sun users, while IBM has a strong relationship with VMware.
There are few technologies in the data center that are getting the same level
of attention from enterprises as virtualization.
Virtualization offers the promise of driving down costs through
consolidation while increasing server utilization. The technology also is
rapidly expanding beyond servers and into other aspects of the data center,
from storage devices to applications to networks.
It's also an area in which both IBM
have offerings. Those products will have to be sorted out if IBM
follows through on buying Sun.
Sun has virtualization for its SPARC hardware running Solaris and also for
commodity x86 systems in its xVM line. IBM
has virtualization for its proprietary hardware and would likely add the xVM
developments to its product line while phasing out Sun's proprietary
virtualization system as the underlying hardware reached the end of its service
Sun acquired Innotek-the original maker of VirtualBox-in February 2008, so
it isn't as if IT managers have had years to implement and embed the x86
virtualization technology. As a competitor to Microsoft's Hyper-V or, more
importantly, VMware's ESXi, it doesn't really register on the scale.
IBM has relationships with VMware and
embeds the VMware hypervisor in some of its server offerings. Leaving IT
managers undisturbed as they proceed to virtualize with VMware would probably have
the advantage over an attempt to introduce xVM.
Labs Technical Director Cameron Sturdevant can be reached at email@example.com.
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