IBM to Support Xen in X86 Servers, Blades

IBM will use the latest release of Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 to bring the Xen open-source virtualization technology to its x86 servers.

IBM will use the latest release of Novells SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 to bring the Xen open-source virtualization technology to its x86 servers.

The Armonk, N.Y., company announced July 17 that it initially will support Xen on its server and blade platforms that run on Intel and Advanced Micro Devices processors and that its middleware also will support the virtualization technology.

Later, IBM will add SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 and Xen support to its other server platforms.

"Customers are very, very rapidly adopting virtualization, particularly on the x86 platform, which hasnt had it until [relatively] recently," said Kevin Leahy, director of marketing for IBMs virtualization solutions. "VMware is out there, and now customers want choice."

Virtualization—the ability to run multiple workloads on a single physical server—was developed by IBM for its mainframe systems but didnt become popular for x86 systems until VMware rolled out its first hypervisor about five years ago. Since then, adoption has increased rapidly. Market researcher IDC sees a $15 billion virtualization market by 2009.

Virtualizations success also has spawned a number of companies that have jumped into the space, from heavyweights such as Microsoft to smaller companies like SWsoft and Virtual Iron. Xen was created through an open-source project to offer a free hypervisor that mirrors what VMwares technology does. Xen 3.0 was released last year, and companies such as XenSource have begun rolling out products based on the technology.

Both Novell and Red Hat said they will bake the technology into their Linux distributions, and Novell rolled out a Xen-enabled version of its latest SUSE Linux distribution on July 17. In addition, many OEMs said they expect to offer Xen support in their platforms. For example, Sun Microsystems officials say they plan to support Xen in Solaris 10 by mid-2007.