Virtual Iron Joins Suns Partner Program

The virtualization vendor is working with Sun to optimize its software, which will now support the Opteron-based "Galaxy" systems.

Virtualization vendor Virtual Iron Software Inc. is joining Sun Microsystems Inc.s Sun Partner Advantage Program, a move that follows the companys recent support of Suns Opteron-based "Galaxy" systems.

Virtual Iron, which offers software designed to virtualize data center infrastructures and manage those environments, has been working with other systems makers, particularly Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM, said Mike Grandinetti, vice president and chief marketing officer for the Lowell, Mass., company.

Growing the relationship with Sun "really gives us another top-tier partner to work with," said Grandinetti.

Using virtualization software, businesses can carve up servers to enable them to run multiple applications and operating systems simultaneously. They can consolidate their data center resources by running the same number of environments on fewer system or run more applications across the servers they have.

Analyst company IDC, in Framingham, Mass., predicts that worldwide spending on virtualiztion technology will reach almost $15 billion by 2009.

Virtual Irons software already supports Suns early Opteron-based servers, the Sun Fire V20z and V40z, and recently expanded that support to the newer X4100 and X4200 servers running Opteron. Sun announced those systems in September.

/zimages/6/28571.gifVirtual Iron 2.0 supports AMDs Opteron and IBMs BladeCenter blade server environments. Click here to read more.

Grandinetti said the Galaxy support made sense, given the growing demand for the servers from such sectors as the financial services industry.

"Its been very interesting to see Suns resurgence," he said. "I know theyd like to have that resurgence in SPARC, but it seems like the demand is really in the Galaxy platform."

For more than a year, Sun has been revamping its server line as it looks to expand its reach. The Santa Clara, Calif., company has adopted Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Opteron processor for x86-based systems and last month rolled out servers based on its new UltraSPARC T1 chips, which offer up to eight cores. Later this year, Sun will roll out a new line of SPARC-based systems, called the Advanced Product Line, that are being jointly developed with Fujitsu Ltd.

Grandinetti said Virtual Iron customers, particularly in the financial services space, were urging the company to support the Galaxy systems. The company has been working with Sun to optimize the performance of its Virtual Iron software on the servers.

Through its participation in the Sun Partner Advantage Program, Virtual Iron will be able to take advantage of Sun products that support product porting and migration, technical assistance, and joint marketing.

Virtual Iron in November rolled out Version 2.0 of its namesake software, which offers support for Opteron and IBMs BladeCenter blade server environments. In October, the company announced that chip maker Intel Corp. had become an investor. Both Intel and AMD are putting chip-level virtualization capabilities into their processors.

The software currently runs in Linux environments, but Grandinetti said that it will grow to support Microsoft Corp.s Windows as well. Virtual Iron executives also are evaluating Solaris, though a decision has yet to be made, he said.

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