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Sun hypes new hypervisor and virtualization console

Marketing now, shipping in '08

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Prowling the x86 server warpath, Sun today revealed its roadmap of products set to bring the company fully into the virtualization brouhaha.

The server maker's new xVM virtualization platform will span across its server, storage, and networking product lines. The first offering will be comprised of a hypervisor and management software set to be released next year. Sun laid down the roadmap basics at a press meeting in San Francisco.

Sun may be late to the x86 virtualization party, but Marc Hamilton, VP of Solaris marketing, is confident there's room for one more player.

Sun plans to lead its fresh virtualization charge with the xVM Server, which combines a minimized version of Solaris with the open-source Xen hypervisor. The software will support Windows, Linux, and Solaris as guest operating systems.

"For the first time, Windows guests will be able to benefit from Sun technologies like Predictive Self-Healing and ZFS which are built into the Sun xVM Server,"Hamilton noted on his blog. "Think about this scenario. You are running windows as a guest OS on Sun xVM Server using an x86 server from Sun, IBM, HP, or Dell. A memory DIMM starts to fail. Predictive Self-Healing built into the Sun xVM Server isolates the failing DIMM from the system and your Windows guest OS continues to run uninterrupted."

Sun has also announced a new management software package, Ops Center, that will work as a command and control console for physical and virtual gear — that's to say the hypervisor and Solaris Containers. Sun said the software also includes discovery and inventory, application provisioning, software lifecycles automation, hardware and software monitoring and compliance reporting. Sun brazenly says "it does everything except unpack boxes and rack and cable systems."

Hamilton was shaky about the exact plans, but suggested xVM Server would be licensed under either the General Public License (GPL) like Xen, or the Common Distribution and Development License like Solaris.

Sun plans to release the first preview of xVM in January, followed by another in March and general release in Q2 2008. Version 1.0 of Ops Center is expected to be available in December. A preview of 2.0 is set for March 2008, with general availability in the second half of the year. ®

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