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XenSource ropes Symantec into storage OEM deal

Strength in numbers

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Looking to strengthen its virtualization wares, XenSource has formed an intriguing alliance with Symantec.

Announced today, the partnership will see XenSource insert Symantec's Veritas Storage Foundation software into a future version of its core XenEnterprise product. Storage Foundation includes the popular Veritas file system and volume manager, although it's just the volume manager that XenSource is after with the OEM arrangement. The software should give XenSource customers a top-class storage management product to complement XenEnterprise's server slicing functions.

This partnership has the potential to reach well beyond LUN (logical unit number) fiddling, if you're willing to speculate a bit - and we are. Pre-merger with Symantec, Veritas hoped to expand deeper into data centers with the help of server management software that complemented its storage strengths. The combined company maintains similar ambitions, and one could see Symantec cuddling up very close to XenSource if it eyed server virtualization as a lucrative add-on business.

In the near-term, the OEM deal gives XenSource a nice attack against VMware, which is stretching at pace beyond server virtualization to handle things such as PC management and storage functions.

XenSource will include Storage Foundation with an updated version of XenEnterprise 4.0. The fresh version of XenSource's flagship product will ship in the next few weeks, and then 4.1 with the Veritas code should arrive during the fourth quarter, according to John Bara, vice president of marketing at XenSource.

Customers will manage Storage Foundation through the XenCenter administration interface that will ship with XenEnterprise 4.0.

XenSource will also craft a new product dubbed XenEnterprise High Availability to handle fail-over tasks, as it tries to mature some of the higher-end features of its software.

XenEnterprise 4.0 is set to introduce support for larger systems, along with support for 64-bit guest operating systems. It will also ship with XenSource's copy of Vmotion, aptly called XenMotion, which permits on-the-fly adjustments to system resources and virtual machines. There's also a new, open XenAPI and the XenCenter management console mentioned earlier.

The new rev will support shared resource pools as well, allowing up to 16 servers and NFS or iSCSI storage systems to talk. Storage Foundation should come in handy there.

We think XenEnterprise 4.0 ships on Aug. 6, but don't hold us to that. ®

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