Virtualization Technology News and Information
XenSource prepares for ubiquitous virtualisation

Quoting VNUNET

The Xen virtual machine monitor will enable virtualisation to expand its current six per cent market share and become a ubiquitous technology, XenSource chief executive Peter Levine told delegates in a keynote presentation at the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco.

Virtualisation has been around on mainframe systems for decades and has been popularised by VMware for use on industry standard x86 servers.

But Levine dismissed VMware because it does not use the hardware support built in to Intel and AMD processors and does not extend support into the operating system.

VMware is also lacking in innovation because it is a closed source application. "Xen Enterprise is virtualisation for the remaining 94 per cent," Levine told delegates.

Support for virtualisation in processors, and the ability to share device drivers between a virtual compartment and the main operating system, limits the system resources required for the virtualisation technology.

A virtualisation server runs a regular operating system, on top of which a hypervisor is installed which allows the user to install numerous operating systems that run independently of each other.

The technology is most commonly used to consolidate several physical servers onto a single machine to increase overall system utilisation.

Illustrating the ease of use of XenSource's software, Levine claimed that he first used the software at a company party "after drinking two beers" and was ab le to install the code and set up several virtual machines within 15 minutes.

"We joked that one of the promotions that we were going to do was a CD and two cans of Guinness," he said.

XenSource offers a commercial implementation of the open source Xen technology developed at the University of Cambridge.

Several operating systems are building in support for the technology, including SuSE, Red Hat and Novell. Microsoft has also promised to build in support for the technology in its forthcoming version of Windows Server.

The operating system specific implementations of Xen are useful for homogeneous data centres where all servers run the same operating system.

XenSource is aiming to set an independent industry standard. The company effectively ships its own Linux distribution with a hypervisor, on top of which enterprises can install their servers such as Windows, Linux or Solaris.

The company also plans to offer extension packs that extend Xen into Red Hat, Novell and Solaris as well as Windows Longhorn Server.

Although virtualisation is mostly used for server consolidation it has potential applications in other areas, according to Levine.

Enterprises could use virtual systems as a hybrid form of thin client computing where a local desktop system still has a full-blown operating system, but the actual applications and data are stored as a virtual system on a company server.

Users looking for bolstered security could also choose to run applications in a standalone virtual compartment disposed after the user session. This could contain viruses that a user downloads while browsing the internet, for example.

Read or comment on the original article, here.


Published Friday, August 18, 2006 6:55 AM by David Marshall
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