RealTime IT News

XenSource Puts Up Enterprise Challenge to VMware

There is strength in numbers, or so the saying goes. For virtualization vendor XenSource, the hope is that, by enabling others to expand its platform, Xen's numbers will be greater than VMware, the current virtualization king.

To that end XenSource today released its flagship commercial product XenEnterprise v4. Though it includes a host of new features, including XenMotion live virtual machine migration, XenCenter virtual infrastructure management and other built-in features, it is XenEnterprise's extensibility that its CTO is most hopeful about.

"The whole thing is to come up with an ecosystem play and not be heavy handed in terms of having to own all the features," XenSource CTO Simon Crosby told internetnews.com. "The cool thing about this is we can then work with the major players in every sector where virtualization is relevant and make virtualization a component of what you do rather than the be all and end all of what you do with the product."

A key part of XenSource's ecosystem play with XenEnterprise v4 is something called the Open Storage Repository API.

"We have an open concept of a storage repository into which you can plug various drivers for storage infrastructure that allows us to tightly couple storage management for virtual machines with the concept of a resource pool," Crosby explained.

XenEnterprise users can take advantage of NAS , iSCSI and SAN storage infrastructures. XenSource has also inked an OEM deal with Symantec for the Veritas Storage Foundation product suite to be an integrated component of the XenEnteprise offer.

Crosby said the XenSource approach to storage is different than what VMware offers, where its customers end up buying VMware's backup solution as opposed to being able to plug into other vendor solutions.

Crosby referred to VMware's backup as yet another forklift that the customer base has to put in to deal with VMware.

Though XenSource is competing against VMware, the strategy is not to try and build another company like VMware. Crosby noted that he's interested in measuring XenSource's ecosystem richness versus VMware and that's where he's trying to go.

"The ecosystem is probably the only way the market will tolerate another virtualization entrant," Crosby said. "I don't think there is room for another VMware-sized company."

XenSource is the commercial firm behind the Xen open source hypervisor. XenEnterprise is a commercial offering that includes the open source hypervisor though it is the management capabilities and support that set it apart.

The first XenEnterprise release for Linux came out in August 2006, with the first release on Windows in November.

At this point in the company's lifecycle, Crosby explained that XenSource just needs to scale its model and execute.

"We've shown that there is no technology risk, no product risk and we can deliver a good quality solution," Crosby said. "To be perfectly honest our intent is to remain at about 30 percent of the VMware price and to leave plenty of dollars on the table for our channel partners that will deliver things that we cannot."