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XenSource Virtualization Gets Real

The first commercial product formally announced by open source virtualization vendor XenSource turned out to be more virtual than the virtualization that the company produces.

Its second attempt, however, is very real, though still targeted at the virtual enterprise.

XenEnterprise, an enterprise-ready bundle for Xen deployment and management, became official this week, nearly five months after it was first announced at the LinuxWorld Boston show.

In December, XenSource announced XenOptimizer, which, never saw the light of day. But some of the core utilities in XenEnterprise are the same as what had been planned for XenOptimizer.

"XenOptimizer turned into the console of XenEnterprise," XenSource CTO Simon Crosby told internetnews.com.

"What actually happened is all of the management capabilities that we developed got turned into what is essentially virtual center for Xen."

Unlike the Xen open source hypervisor, which is freely available, XenEnterprise is a commercial product with support and licensing options.

Crosby explained that XenSource is offering XenEnterprise in both a subscription license and a perpetual license with various support options

"We're unlike Red Hat and Novell's SUSE, where support is the offering," Crosby explained.

"We sell a product called XenEnterprise, which contains open source Xen as well as some XenSource proprietary capabilities," Crosby added. "That product is licensed to the customer and the license is available as a subscription."

The key for XenEnterprise, according to Crosby, is that it is targeted at a volume market need for the key benefits that people are purchasing virtualization for today.

"We're trying to make this stuff accessible in a volume software market where you don't have to have warm bodies and smart people to install it and make it work," Crosby said. "It's volume priced and volume packaged."

The core Xen open source hypervisor is already part of Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise 10, Fedora Core 5 and is set for inclusion in the upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 , as well as a future version of Sun Solaris.

Thanks to a deal announced earlier this year, support for Microsoft is also part of the mix.

The release of XenEnterprise this week is not intended to be a full-scale product marketing launch, said Crosby.

The release is limited at this point to make sure that XenSource is ready to meet the needs of the volume market in terms of being able to provide support and help channel partners, he added.

XenSource's support capabilities have only been built out in the last three or four months, according to Crosby, and the channel is still getting up to speed.

"It's our intention now to sell as much of this product as is required to make sure ourselves that we are doing a good job with everything that is required to be a company rather than just a deliverer of a bag of bits," Crosby said.