Virtualization Technology News and Information
Xen Project Launches New Open Cloud Initiative, the home of the open source Xen hypervisor, today formally announced the Xen® Cloud Platform (XCP) initiative – a powerful new community-led effort to build on the growing leadership of the Xen hypervisor in today’s cloud, and deliver a secure and proven open source infrastructure platform for the federated cloud services of tomorrow. The Xen Cloud Platform will accelerate the use of cloud infrastructure for enterprise customers by providing open source virtual infrastructure technology that makes it easy for service providers to deliver secure, customizable, multi-tenant cloud services that work seamlessly with the virtualized application workloads customers are already running in their internal datacenters and private clouds, without locking them into any particular vendor.

“The Xen Cloud Platform raises the bar – going beyond the hypervisor to deliver a complete run-time virtual infrastructure platform product that virtualizes storage, server and network resources,” said Mark Bowker, analyst, ESG. “This announcement aligns the Xen community around a common compatible product, increasing the opportunity for value-added offerings from all ISVs, while promising to run VMs from any hypervisor.”

The low cost and rapid development benefits of the open source model, coupled with its proven security, performance and customizability, made Xen the hypervisor of choice for many cloud computing pioneers. The widespread adoption of Xen in today’s most successful commercial cloud offerings led the community to formalize the Xen Cloud Platform to further accelerate this growth in an open, non-proprietary way. This initiative enables open source contributors and consumers to come together around a more focused effort to deliver a complete Xen-based infrastructure product that supports a wide variety of current and future cloud scenarios.

“The Xen Project has played a seminal role in enabling the creation and rapid adoption of virtualization,” said Ian Pratt, creator of Xen and founder of “Today Xen is already the most widely used hypervisor in the service provider market and the community will be able to build on this momentum to develop a complete, open source, cloud-optimized Xen virtual infrastructure platform. Our goal is to empower providers to offer a rich set of services that will catalyze cloud adoption by the enterprise in a way that’s open, accessible and non-proprietary.”

A key focus of the XCP initiative will be to provide technology that permits easy interoperability between internal enterprise “private clouds” and leading external cloud platforms like Amazon EC2, Rackspace Cloud Servers and GoGrid. The Xen Cloud Platform will accelerate the development of a wide variety of key technologies and standards that address this need in an open, non-proprietary way, including:

  • Broad interoperability across disparate virtualization platforms – Through standards such as the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) Open Virtualization Format (OVF), virtual appliances will be packaged in a hypervisor-independent format for easy transport between internal and external clouds with no proprietary vendor lock-in.
  • Support for new and existing applications – Existing applications currently running in enterprise datacenters will be enabled to run in Xen-based cloud platforms without modification. This flexibility will allow users to choose where each application should run based on business needs rather than limitations of the technology or proprietary requirements of their current virtualization or cloud vendor.
  • Federated computing capacity – With federated private and public clouds, the process of moving application workloads between virtual datacenters and disparate cloud service providers will be simplified.
  • Standardized virtualization management – Support for DMTF standards will allow complete open management of virtual infrastructures.
  • Rich virtual networking capabilities – A powerful open virtual switch will make it easy for cloud providers to add sophisticated network service offerings, including per-tenant network management, intrusion detection, firewalling, routing, and load balancing.
  • Cloud-scale virtual storage infrastructures – Advanced storage features required by enterprise workloads will enable virtual machines and their physical storage to be widely separated without disrupting application performance.

“Rackspace is very excited about the direction and scope of the Xen Cloud Platform,” said Lew Moorman, president and chief strategy officer, Rackspace. “We have built our Cloud Servers offering on the Xen platform and are experiencing strong customer interest in this new model of hosting. The cloud will not only reduce the cost of computing but also provide instantaneous access enabling customers to improve the speed of business. It is very exciting and encouraging to see put the full weight of the community behind the development of a cloud platform.”

The Xen Cloud Platform will address the needs of cloud providers by combining the isolation and multi-tenancy capabilities of the Xen hypervisor with enhanced security, storage and network virtualization technologies to offer a rich set of virtual infrastructure cloud services. The platform will also address user requirements for security, availability, performance and isolation across both private and public clouds. The project will not attempt to develop new, independent management and orchestration offerings since this is an area with existing rich offerings and active ongoing development in the community, including open source options from the Eucalyptus Project and, as well as solutions from cloud provider and commercial virtualization vendors.

The Xen Cloud Platform will combine the mobility and openness attributes of the Xen virtualization platform with innovative storage, security and network virtualization technologies already under development as part of As a result, the new platform will not only address cloud provider requirements around security and isolation, but will also meet next-generation user requirements for security, availability, performance, isolation and manage between on-premise and off-premise infrastructures. Advisory Board Members Voice Support advisory board members such as Citrix, HP, Intel, Novell and Oracle have already voiced their support for the XCP initiative:

“As a advisory board member and frequent contributor, Citrix fully supports this expansion in scope for the Xen community,” said Peter Levine, senior vice president and general manager, Datacenter and Cloud Division, Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS). “Starting with the core Xen platform five years ago, the Xen Client Initiative (XCI) in 2008 and now the Xen Cloud Platform (XCP) initiative, the open source value proposition of reliability, security, scalability and unbeatable economics now extends from the desktop to the datacenter and cloud. Citrix is excited to contribute to this project and looks forward to working with all the beneficiaries – service providers, businesses and consumers of cloud-based resources alike – to provide cloud services that are open, interoperable and free from proprietary vendor lock in.”

“Organizations are turning increasingly to virtualization to help them reduce operating costs,” said Nick van der Zweep, director of Virtualization and Insight Software at HP. “With the Xen Cloud Platform, customers will be able to leverage HP infrastructure and enable open source virtualization for clients, clouds, and servers. This will provide a platform for innovation, facilitating an infrastructure that provides organizations with increased flexibility and improved levels of service while reducing costs.”

“Extending the capability of with the Xen Cloud Platform initiative builds on the great foundation that we have in place today for creating and building solid capabilities for enterprise class clouds,” said Doug Fisher, vice president and general manager, Systems Software Division, Intel. “This is an important step in unlocking innovation across all disciplines of cloud computing.”

“As an active member of the Xen open source project, Novell is excited to participate in the Xen Cloud Platform initiative,” said Carlos Montero-Luque, vice president of business and product management for Open Platform Solutions at Novell. “Novell is committed to an open source model that thrives on the support and contributions of a strong community. Creating a stable, well-defined public API for Xen will help drive its rapid adoption inside the enterprise and in clouds.”

“Oracle continues to provide leadership and contributions to, and is committed to the broad availability of a complete open source virtualization platform, independent of any OS,” said Wim Coekaerts, vice president of Linux engineering, Oracle Corporation. “Aligning the community around a single compatible code base will maximize the benefits of open source virtual infrastructure for customers, and simplify the federation of private and public clouds.”

For a list of additional supporting quotes from Xen community supporters, please see the end of this announcement.

Today’s announcement builds on’s leadership in the virtualization community. In 2008, expanded its charter and community effort with the addition of the Xen Client Initiative (XCI), which led the community to offer the first complete embeddable client hypervisor ready for consumption by ISVs and OEMs. The success of the XCI model, combined with strong demand in cloud computing and demand from key service providers, has now led the community to further expand the charter to include the new Xen Cloud Platform (XCP) initiative to accelerate open source development of a complete cloud-optimized virtual infrastructure product. These expansions have driven a renewed commitment to Xen with more than 250 leading companies regularly contributing to the projects and contributions jumping over 110 percent year over year. This continued investment has enabled to continue to accelerate the pace of innovation in the core of the datacenter, on client devices and now into the cloud.

Published Monday, August 31, 2009 9:41 AM by David Marshall
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Xen Project Launches New Open Cloud Initiative : @VMblog

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