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Open source and Dell join Sun server party

Schwartz makes like Al Gore

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OpenWorld Like Al Gore claiming to have created the internet, Sun Microsystems claims it was a virtualization pioneer.

While announcing open-source-based virtualization and a Solaris server partnership with Dell on Wednesday, Sun chief executive Jonathan Schwartz told Oracle's OpenWorld that Sun was "one of the first" in the industry to deliver a virtual machine - the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

Credit is generally given to IBM for conceiving what today is considered system virtualization in the 1970s while Java came into view last decade. Sun's chief executive burnished his company's position in history by calling the JVM the "first" of the large-scale virtual investments ever made by Sun and the industry's "first" mass-market virtual machine.

"We think a lot about virtualization," Schwartz told a conference frothing over virtualization and the "datacenter of the future."

Sun's CEO used the event to introduce Sun xVM Server and Ops Center. xVM Server is a Xen-based hypervisor combining ZFS, self-healing FMS, DTrace and Project Crossbow. xVM Ops Center provides management to provision firmware and physical systems, hypervisors, automatic patching and reporting for data center automation. Sun xVM is tailored for Intel, AMD and SPARC, Solaris, Linux and Windows and licensed under GPL3

Also announced was the xVM open source community, openxvm.org for developers.

Openxvm.org is Sun's latest attempt to sink roots into the open source community. Speaking a year after Sun open-sourced Java, Schwartz used the event to, again, take on critics and some former employees who disagree with Sun's policy of giving away its software.

According to Schwartz, Sun is building communities and "the community creates economic opportunity for Sun." That will mean charging for services, such as support for xVM as part of its Solaris support package.

The real money, though, is in Sun's systems partnerships, and Dell became the latest OEM to deliver a supported version of Solaris on its servers - the PowerEdge. Making a brief appearance on stage with Schwartz ahead of his afternoon opener for Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison, Dell's CEO Michael Dell said: "We will provide support for Solaris [and] choices for customers."

The deal ends years of hostility and recognizes the fact one third of Solaris instances run on Dell. "The stupidest thing we could have done would be to go to those customers and say: 'You blew it, you picked the wrong thing'," Schwartz said.®

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