April 2, 2006 9:00 PM PDT
Virtualization start-ups hit reset button
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Virtualizing at the operating system is one approach, but SWsoft is taking a higher-level approach that divides a single operating system into multiple virtual environments, each with its own independent applications. At the show, SWsoft plans to announce its Datacenter Automation Suite, a Web-based management tool for tasks such as launching new environments or filling them with software templates.
Xen is catching on in the Linux realm. Indeed, it's being built into premium Linux products from Novell and Red Hat due by the end of the year, undermining the technology somewhat as a standalone product.
XenSource 'parks' XenOptimizer
That fact was part of why XenSource changed direction. "What we found out over last six months, talking to a lot with customers...is that the way they want to consume Xen is through Red Hat Enterprise Linux (or) Suse Linux," Crosby said.
Those two Linux sellers now are XenSource business partners. That arrangement is one facet of XenSource's business strategy, while selling a stand-alone product called XenEnterprise to compete with VMware is the other, Crosby said.
XenSource no longer plans to sell its Xen management tool software, XenOptimizer. "We're parking that for now," Crosby said. There already are several management tool companies with which customers are comfortable, and those customers "don't want to see XenSource going head-to-head with those guys," he said.
XenEnterprise is in beta testing now and will be released later this year when processors with VT and AMD Virtualization start becoming widespread, Crosby said. At that time, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company will announce prices.
Virtual Iron plans management tools
Virtual Iron doesn't share XenSource's reticence for management software. With the upcoming version 3 of its software, it will let Xen customers manage Xen virtual machines. For example, it can move virtual machines from one physical computer to another and restart virtual machines when a computer fails.
The Lowell, Mass.-based company plans three versions of its product. The Community Edition will be available freely under the same General Public License (GPL) as Xen itself, includes basic Virtual Iron extensions.
The Professional Edition will be free and supports management of a single server. The Enterprise Edition will let customers manage virtual machines running on multiple computers, with prices starting at $1,500.
Beta testing for Virtual Iron 3 on Linux will begin in July and on Windows in September. Both versions should be generally available before the end of the year, Thibault said.
The strategy marks a dramatic departure for Virtual Iron. Previously, the company had billed its software as providing a way to use InfiniBand high-speed links to join several low-end servers into what amounted to single multiprocessor system.
"Trying to sell InfiniBand into enterprise datacenters was, to say the least, a real challenge. We were spending more time selling InfiniBand than our own product," Thibault said. "What got lost in translation was we had built a very full-featured management platform."
As Virtual Iron made the shift, it left behind its co-founder and former CTO, Scott Davis. "Last November, we decided to go in a different direction. Scott is no longer with company," Thibault said.
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