The June 25 agreement gives XenSource, the Palo Alto, Calif., virtualization company created by the original developers of the Xen open-source hypervisor project, access to an OEM with a significant global reach in the x86 market.
For NEC, the pact with XenSource gives it additional depth in its line of x86 servers and allows it to offer more choice to its customers. Although NEC has an agreement with VMware, the leading provider of virtualization technology, XenEnterprise will become the default virtualization option with its Sigma Systems Center management suite.
In addition, NEC will resell XenSources XenEnterprise product.
"NEC and XenSource have signed a global agreement as a way to simplify and deliver virtualization into the market place," Nima Homayoun, general manager of XenSources Asia division, said in a telephone interview.
XenSource already has agreements with other companies, such as Stratus Technologies and Marathon Technologies, but none with the global presence that NEC brings.
"This is a very important agreement for us because it gives us access to a top-tier OEM and a business with a global presence that will help establish XenEnterprise as a major provider of the next generation of virtualization solutions," Homayoun said.
For years, VMware has dominated the virtualization market with its various products for x86 servers. However, open-source virtualization has started to gain a degree of acceptance, which has meant that projects such as Xen and OpenVZ have started to grow by providing lower-cost alternatives to VMware.
In addition to XenSource, Virtual Iron uses the Xen hypervisor with its own virtualization offering.
Katsumi Inoue, general manager of NECs Computer Software Division, said in an interview from the companys Tokyo headquarters that NEC does have experience with virtualization that dates back to its legacy mainframe technology, but that the agreement with XenSource will help expand the offerings in its x86 line.
In the x86 market, research firm Gartner ranked NEC fifth in the world in terms of shipments, with 2.3 percent of the market in the first quarter of 2007. NEC ranked far behind the market leader, Hewlett-Packard, which claimed 31 percent of the x86 market in the first quarter.
In addition to integrating the XenEnterprise product into its hardware and software, XenSource and NEC will begin developing other virtualization tools for storage and networking products.
NEC will begin shipping XenEnterprise in August and the NEC Sigma Systems Center management suite with the embedded XenSource software will become available in December, the company said. The first products will appear in Japan initially before heading to North America and other markets.
The release of NECs management software with the embedded XenSource virtualization technology will include the latest version of XenEnterprise, Version 4.0, which will be released this summer, Homayoun said.
Pricing for the new Sigma Systems Center management suite with XenEnterprise has not been set, executives with both companies said.