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Virtualization news briefs: Xen's advantage over VMware; virtual SANs on hand

Check out the latest news about Xen versus VMware, Virtual Iron's new partnerships, and virtual SANS.

Get the quick lowdown about server virtualization movers and shakers in SearchServerVirtualization's news roundup. In this installment, find out about the increasing demand for Xen and new moves by the vendors supporting this open source-based virtualization technology. Also, Emulex puts some virtual punch into storage with a new product.

Xen: antidote to VMware's price control?

Xen, the Linux open-source answer to virtualization, is top-of-mind for IT shops planning a virtualization strategy, says Cadman Chiu, director of product marketing at PlateSpin Ltd., a Toronto, Ontario company whose PowerConvert and PowerRecon products help plan and automate physical-to-virtual (P2V) and virtual-to-virtual (V2V) server migrations.

With support for VMware Server and ESX and Microsoft Virtual Server already in the bag, "the next question out of their lips is 'When will you support Xen?" Chiu says.

This week, PlateSpin announced a partnership with Lowell, MA-based Virtual Iron Software, which uses the Xen hypervisor as the basis of its Virtual Iron platform. Currently in beta, the platform will also include virtualization services and a virtualization management component.

VMware's hold on the virtualization market may be the reason behind customer interest in Xen, says Tim Walsh, director of corporate marketing at Virtual Iron. "Right now, VMware is really the only game in town, and that gives them a lot of price control," he says. "A lot of customers feel perhaps they have too much control."

In other Virtual Iron news, the company also launched a channel partnership program, dubbed Channel One.

Virtualization-aware HBAs boost data security, Emulex says

Emulex's Fibre Channel host-bus adapters (HBAs), the add-in cards that allow a server to connect to an external Storage Area Network (SAN) storage array, are now shipping with a developer's kit to enable its Virtual LightPulse feature on HBAs running in VMware, Xen and Microsoft Virtual Server environments.

Virtual LightPulse virtualizes the HBA such that each VM running on a physical host receives its own dedicated virtual HBA, each with its own individual Fibre Channel worldwide name (WWN).

As a result, data center managers can continue improve data security and use existing storage management principles and tools, says Scott McIntyre, Emulex vice president of software marketing. For example, with an Emulex Virtual LightPulse HBA, you can put each virtual machine in its own fabric zone, or use array-based LUN masking and mapping. Without it, all VMs on a physical server must be in the same zone, he says.

Emulex also announced that it would support Virtual SANs, a T11 standard developed by Cisco Systems Inc. that is analogous to Virtual LAN (VLAN) technology in Ethernet networks. With this support, a single physical HBA can participate in multiple VSAN fabrics. This is helpful if you want to segregate traffic by VM and application, McIntyre says.

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