Xen API Will Enable New Management Era


The Xen project will soon release an API for developing high-end management features like those in VMware's VMotion and Virtual Infrastructure 3 platform.

At the annual Xen Summit held this week at IBM's Watson facility in Yorkstown, N.Y., the open-source project leaders said the Xen 3.05 update with the new API and enhanced 64-bit support would be available within a few weeks.

The 3.06 update with support for Intel's VT-d and possibly AMD's VT-d will be available in the next two to three months, said Ian Pratt, project lead.

Xen developers and ISVs such as XenSource and Virtual Iron use the open-source hypervisor in their respective cross-platform virtualization platforms, and Red Hat and Novell employ the Xen hypervisor in their latest Linux distributions.

XenSource, the commercial spin-off of the project, recently released XenEnterprise 3.2 based on the current 3.04 Xen code and plans to release its enhanced XenEnteprise platform with advanced management features that exploit the new API in its next release next quarter, Pratt said.

"The 3.05 release really puts us on par with the underlying hypervisor in VMware," he said. "The API is brand new... the gap [with VMware]will close very fast."

The ability to do library relocations of Windows guests, another new feature in the 3.05 update, is significant because it will allow the dynamic relocation of Windows workload, essential for ISVs to offer VMotion-like features, Pratt said. The Xen software has supported library locations for Linux for several years, he added.

"The Xen API is how the ISV community will integrate with Xen systems and control virtual machines," Pratt said. "It will enable you to build clusters of Xen systems and control them. It's the underlying mechanism that enables others to wrap a GUI around it."