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Sun xVM Server and Ops Center update add virtualization options

Sun Microsystems announced commercial availability of its Xen-based hypervisor, xVM Server, and an updated version of its virtualization management software, Sun xVM Ops Center.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems Inc. has announced the commercial availability of its Sun xVM Serversoftware and Sun xVM Ops Center 2.0, key components in its overall virtualization strategy.

Sun first announced it would release its own open source Xen-based hypervisor and complimentary management products late last year. p>

Steve Wilson a vice president of xVM at Sun, provided product demonstrations during a webcast on Sept. 10. Sun also hosted executives from Microsoft and Intel, two of the company's latest and more unlikely allies, who discussed their own technologies and newfound adoration for Sun. p>

With xVM, Sun joins the ranks of vendors offering Xen-based hypervisors including Oracle with its Oracle VM and Citrix Systems Inc,'s XenServer.

xVM Server and Ops Center in a nutshell
With the new Sun xVM Server software, Sun delivers open source server virtualization to virtualize and manage heterogeneous workloads, including Windows, Red Hat and SUSE Linux, Solaris and OpenSolaris operating systems, on Sun x86 platforms and Sparc-based servers.

Making the hypervisor more attractive to VMware users, xVM Server is designed to interoperate with virtualization software from VMware. Sun chose Virtual Machine Disk Format (VMDK) as its primary virtual hard disk format for xVM Server so customers can move workloads between VMware ESX and Sun xVM Server software easily,Wilson said. . This is in contrast to other Xen-based hypervisors, which use Microsoft's VHD format. xVM Server will also be validated to work with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and prior versions.

Sun xVM Server features includes live migration, which is offered by most virtualization products with the glaring exception of Microsoft Hyper-V. Microsoft plans to offer live migration in the next version of Hyper-V, due out in the next 18 to 24 months.

Other features of Sun xVM include the following:

  • guest cloning and templating to create new guests using previously generated templates;
  • the ability to run nonparavirtualized guests in a paravirtualized environment, for better I/O performance;
  • the flexibility to run VMDK-formatted guests and appliances;
  • the availability of all xVM server components in the open source community, with xVM Server management functionality exposed through the WSMan object, or application programming interface; and
  • Microsoft certification for all modern Microsoft Server OS environments as guests in xVM Server.

And with the release of Sun xVM Ops Center 2.0, users can control lifecycle management using features for discovery, provisioning, updating, monitoring and reporting of physical and virtual assets, as well as compliance reporting.

Wilson said the previous version of Ops Center has been used to manage thousands of geographically distributed systems simultaneously. "Earlier versions have been used to manage 50,000 cores, and we are only moving up from there," Wilson said.

The significance of Sun's new products are that the company known for virtualization with Solaris containers now offers a range of data center virtualization products, according to virtualization analyst Andrew Kutz.

"If Sun manages to acquire or develop an application virtualization and delivery technology, it will be poised to have the most complete virtualization technology available," Kutz said in a recent article. "Through Sun, IT administrators will be able to procure Sun servers, a hypervisor [xVM Server], desktop delivery software [Sun Desktop Infrastructure] and, most important, management software that can manage the OS, the hypervisor and the hardware [Sun xVM Ops Center]."

Sun subscriptions for Sun xVM Server software and Sun xVM Ops Center are priced annually in four-socket increments and provide 24/7 support, access to patches and updates, as well as installation and training. Available pricing options include the following:

  • Sun xVM Server software: $500/year per physical server;
  • a Sun xVM Infrastructure Enterprise subscription, which includes advanced features such as management of live migration and of multiple network storage libraries is priced at $2,000 per physical server per year;
  • a Sun xVM Infrastructure Datacenter subscription includes all the features in the Sun xVM Infrastructure Enterprise subscription plus physical server monitoring, management and advanced software lifecycle management capabilities and is priced at $3,000 per server per year;
  • Sun xVM Ops Center is available from $100 per managed server up to $350 a year, depending on customer-selected features, along with a required $10,000 Satellite Server annual subscription for Sun xVM Ops Center.

In addition to xVM and xVM Ops Center, Sun also launched, a new open source community where developers can download the first source code bundle for Sun xVM Server software and contribute to its development. Additional pieces of the Sun xVM virtualization portfolio, including Sun xVM VirtualBox software and Sun xVM Ops Center, are open source and freely available for download at

From desktop to data center, the complete Sun xVM portfolio will be showcased at VMworld in Las Vegas, Sept. 15-18, 2008 at Booth No. 1108.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer. And check out our Server Virtualization blog.

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