Red Hat, Novell, Canonical all rush to VMworld stage

Whether they feature new products or not, Red Hat, Novell and Canonical will descend on VMworld to promote their virtualization strategies.

With virtualization being the hottest thing in computing, VMworld 2008 is the place to be next week, and all the leading open source OS vendors will soon descend on the show to be part of the action. The Las Vegas trade show is the No. 1 spot for open source providers to reach out to customers and spread the word about their respective virtualization strategies.

Red Hat Inc.officials said they plan no new product announcements during the show, but the Raleigh, N.C.-based open source vendor last week shelled out $107 million in a surprise purchase of Israel-based Qumranet Inc., the developer of the KVM hypervisor, which is pretty big news in itself. Whether or not it issues additional statements, Red Hat certainly will talk to customers about how the Qumranet acquisition will impact its virtualization strategy.

Novell's virtualization push
Waltham, Mass.-based Novell Inc., on the other hand, is expecting to make a big splash with a larger sponsorship and a bigger booth at VMworld this year, according to Justin Steinman, Novell's marketing director of open platform solutions. Novell's main message is interoperability: Novell has incorporated VMware Inc.'s Virtual Machine Interface (VMI) connectors in the SUSE kernel to make SUSE Linux Enterprise run at near native performance on VMware as well as connectors to Microsoft's Hyper-V. SUSE also offers virtualization management tools such as disaster recovery through Novell's acquisition of PlateSpin last spring, Steinman said.

At the show, Novell will also demonstrate Studio, a new Web-based service that enables independent software vendors to customize a SUSE-based mini-operating system, create a virtual appliance and then test it immediately online to see if it meets certification standards for Novell support, he said. Studio is an automated way to jump-start development of a virtual appliance, which also can be done manually from scratch through SUSE's Just enough Operating System (JeOS), which Novell introduced last spring. Studio is currently in alpha, and JeOS will be ready for general release sometime this fall, Steinman said.

Roger Levy, Novell's senior vice president of open platform solutions, will also lead a workshop on the future of Linux software appliances during the show.

Canonical readies next release
London-based Canonical Ltd., will be at VMworld too, primarily to reach out to customers and deliver its virtualization story to a broader audience, according to Nick Barcet, Ubuntu server product manager. However, Canonical is just a month away from the release of Canonical 8.10 for servers and desktops, which features several virtualization improvements.

First, its VMBuilder can now automate the creation of virtual appliances, configuring and booting a new machine in a minute instead of 15 minutes and can be used with either a graphical user interface or line commands, Barcet said.

Second, version 8.10 will automate the deployment of servers in the cloud with a pre-built image and tools for configuring and loading.

Finally, the new version will include support for a Xen guest kernel similar to that provided for Vmware, in the Ubuntu repository.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Pam Derringer, News Writer. And check out Enterprise Linux Log.
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