Virtual Iron 3 Goes Xen

ISV open source virtualization

At LinuxWorld Expo and Open Source Solutions in Boston this week, the Lowell, Mass. company announced plans to release Virtual Iron 3 for Xen, with support for the Xen hypervisor, to general availability this July.

The company announced its next-generation platform plans at the same time XenSource unveiled plans for its XenEnterpise platform. Xensource said at LinuxWorld Expo that its first platform, due in the second half of 2006, will offer the Xen hypervisor as well as deployment, provisioning and management services.

Virtual Iron's Version 3 platform, which will feature advanced virtualization capabilities and policy-based management, will also exploit Xen and Intel's Virtualization Technology to offer native virtualization capabilities without installing separate virtualization services, the company said.

It will also support 32-bit and 64-bit Linux and Windows operating systems without modification when it ships later this year.

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The beta will initially support Linux guests. Windows guest support will be added to the beta in September, the company said.

Virtual Iron positions its platform as a high-end virtualization offering for the entire data center, competing against similar offerings from IBM and Akimbi and in some respects VMware's VirtualCenter.

For example, the software offers a policy-based Virtualization Manager for monitoring and managing all virtual servers and applications in the data center from a Web-based graphical user interface. Services such as LiveCapacity, LiveMigrate, LiveRecovery and LiveMaintenance enable automated resource management and high availability, the company said.

Virtual Iron also plans to offer its own Virtualization Services as an open source software stack available under a GPL license.

Virtual Iron's Virtualization Services offer advanced services such as virtual storage and network connectivity, virtual server resources management, server logical partitioning, high-performance drivers and hot-plug CPU and memory support.

In February, Novell announced that it had begin shipping a pre-configured kernel in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 that support's Virtual Iron's virtualization and management platform.

Version 3 will be available in three editions: the Open Virtual Iron for Xen Community Edition with support for Xen developers and its own virtualization services stack; the Virtual Iron 3 for Xen Professional Edition, also available at no cost and for download, which offers partitioning and management of a single server with virtualization services under GPL, and a limited-use commercial license.

For commercial deployment, Virtual iron 3 Enterprise Edition offers support for multiserver configuration and support. It features the virtualization services under GPL and a commercial license of Virtualization Manager.

The company opted to take a page from the playbook of other major Xen supporters, including Novell, Red Hat, Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and Hewlett-Packard, in order to expand its market reach. Virtual Iron joined the Xen ecosystem earlier this year.

One enterprise solution provider said Virtual Iron was wise to embrace Xen and open source licenses because the commoditization of the core engine will likely increase customers and partner demand for high-end virtualization management services.

"As the Xen hypervisor gets integrated into the OS, and chipsets support virtualization, customers will gain a lot of efficiencies, and where we see the key value is in management," said Ken Mclauren, senior product manager for open source and virtualization solutions at Akibia, Westborough, Mass.