Vendors, Customers Should Set Xen Standards High

Opinion: A specter of vendor-introduced incompatibilities looms, but an appropriate level of Xen standardization will carry the day.

As Peter Galli points out in his story, virtualization is awfully hot right now, and open-source virtualization is particularly toasty.

The Xen hypervisor—the code for which is licensed under the GNU GPL (General Public License)—has steadily accrued new vendor support, with Red Hat, Novell, Virtual Iron Software and XenSource all preparing offerings based on the fresh-faced virtualization project.

Considering the rapid rate of change that Xen is still undergoing, and the fact that multiple vendors will be looking to implement the technology in ways that best complement their current products, vendors and customers alike should be aware of the looming specter of vendor-introduced incompatibilities.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read why Jason Brooks says that Red Hat should maybe exhibit some Xen-Ophobia.

However, Im convinced that an appropriate level of Xen standardization will carry the day. Xens open-source licensing ensures that, as vendors develop stable, effective Xen implementations, code will be available for others to repackage for their own wares.

Its in the financial interests of all involved to contribute to and work from a stable code base—and to minimize the costs of maintaining a separate tree.

Where things will get interesting is with the complementary tools that will sprout up around Xen, such as those for management. Not all Xen-shipping vendors will be interested in offering these pieces under an open-source license, and these tools will offer vendors an opportunity to set themselves apart from one another.

—Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at

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