Feeds

Red Hat bids XenSource adieu

Not just now, thanks

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

One week after receiving Microsoft's blessing, the open source Xen project has been slapped with a heavy dose of criticism from groups who charge the software isn't data center ready.

Xen has enjoyed a two-year run as the server virtualization darling of the open source set. The software for carving up servers into numerous partitions has been pitched as a cheaper, faster alternative to products from VMware and Microsoft. XenSource, a well-funded start-up, has been doing most of the Xen cheerleading for the Linux masses.

One of XenSource's major selling points, however, now appears to have faded. The company promised customers that its software would be bundled into the new versions of SuSE and Red Hat Linux. Not so.

"XenSource is not stable yet, it's not ready for the enterprise," Red Hat VP Alex Pinchev told ZDNet Australia. "We don't feel that XenSource is stable enough to address banking, telco or any other enterprise customer, so until we are comfortable, we will not release it."

Red Hat's Xen reversal comes just as Novell this month started pumping out SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with XenSource inside.

Along with Red Hat, a prominent industry analyst recently expressed his doubts about Xen.

"Xen just isn’t ready today," wrote Gordon Haff of Illuminata in a research note.

Haff then listed four items lacking in Xen that Red Hat staff had highlighted to him as problems.

  • 1. The new “credit scheduler” was just checked into the xen-unstable tree earlier this month. SLE10 shipped with two other schedulers (BVT and sEDF). According to this posting by Keir Fraser (one of the original developers of Xen): “With the new credit scheduler checked into the xen-unstable tree, I wouldn’t recommend to use either BVT or SEDF. They’re both buggy. The new scheduler is supported by us, automatically load balances on SMP systems, and has a simpler administrator interface. Once credit scheduler has demonstrated its stability we’ll most likely remove the other two schedulers."
  • 2. The SLE10 installer is primarily just for SUSE guests at this point. “…for Windows you have to use the manual approach by editing config files and changing entries to boot from CD/HD.”
  • 3. Performance profiling (xenoprof) is still in flux. e.g., it doesn’t save or restore performance counter state on context switching (so it’s difficult to profile performance within guest OSs).
  • 4. According to Red Hat: “Xen security is an issue [that] Xen currently has no concept of: opening up the migration port, for example, will expose all of the guests to anybody on the network. (Imagine driving a server truck into a corporate parking lot, migrating all the instances to your servers, and driving off ;-).)”

"I’ve no reason to think any of this is Red Hat Xen bashing," Haff added. "I’ve had past conversations with Red Hat executives such as CTO Brian Stevens where they have been very supportive of Xen. Furthermore, the view of Xen as a work in progress is mirrored from a variety of sources—including a Novell engineer at their March Brainshare Conference where the best he could say about Xen stability was that it was 'A lot more stable than three months ago.' Sun, which also plans to incorporate Xen into Solaris, likewise views it as a technology for a future season—probably sometime in the first half of next year."

Not too long ago, it seemed that Xen could do no wrong. Everyone wanted a piece of this company that looked set to take Linux to the next level on the server without needing a proprietary friend like VMware to help.

But folks keeping a close eye on the server virtualization market will have noticed a major shift against Xen and XenSource in recent months.

For one, XenSource once made it sound like future versions of the Linux kernel would definitely embrace Xen's virtualization model and protocol preferences over rivals' products. In April, we learned that wasn't true, as the kernel leads are far from picking a server virtualization model of choice. In fact, the SWsoft crew recently told us that the company's OpenVZ project may well be the preferred server virtualization software found in Linux.

In addition, XenSource has moved to form strong ties with Microsoft of all companies in the hopes of rattling VMware. The Redmond love can't go unnoticed in the Red Hat boardroom.

Few would dispute the notion that customer interest in Xen remains high. But it would seem that the open source project has shifted out of its euphoric stage and into the fickle marketplace stage. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ellison: Sparc M7 is Oracle's most important silicon EVER
'Acceleration engines' key to performance, security, Larry says
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Lenovo to finish $2.1bn IBM x86 server gobble in October
A lighter snack than expected – but what's a few $100m between friends, eh?
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Hey, what's a STORAGE company doing working on Internet-of-Cars?
Boo - it's not a terabyte car, it's just predictive maintenance and that
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.