Sun Ready to Launch x86 Virtualization Management

Sun announced the pricing, availability and further details of the xVM Ops Center virtualization management software it unveiled last month at the Oracle OpenWorld conference. Ops Center goes hand-in-hand with Sun’s other announcement at the conference, its xVM virtualization software.

Another part of today’s announcement is that Sun will release the source code used to build xVM Ops Center to its community starting December 10. Developers will “be able to play around with the agent infrastructure and modify it,” Oren Teich, director of marketing for xVM,” told

Sun xVM Ops Center is designed to reduce datacenter management complexity by combining a range of lifecycle management functionality into an all-in-one tool. The idea, Sun said, is to simplify discovery, monitoring, operating system provisioning, comprehensive updates and patch management, firmware updates, and hardware management from power up to production in cross-platform Linux and Solaris Operating System-based x86 and Sparc environments.

Teich said patches can be more easily scheduled using Ops Center with compliance as well as physical inventory reports, “Things you don’t want to have to do manually because they take too long,” he said.

Sun plans to make money on support and service for Ops Center, which will be available for free download. The first commercial release is set for January 8, 2008 at what Sun said is an “aggressively priced” rate of $100 per managed server. The price can rise to $350 depending on other features selected.

A $10,000 Satellite Server subscription includes an on-site enterprise installation service and hands on training. Sun also plans to release its own hypervisor by the second quarter of 2008, when Teich said it will also update Ops Center.

He said Sun’s software works with leading hypervisor’s from VMware and Citrix (XenSource). “VMware and Xen enable a huge amount of sales for us,” said Teich. “We love them.”

At Oracle OpenWorld, Sun’s xVM announcement was somewhat overshadowed by it’s other announcement of a rapprochement with Dell. CEO Michael Dell took the stage with Sun’s CEO Jonathan Schwartz to announce an agreement to distribute Sun’s software, though the computer giant also is remains a leading supplier of VMware and inked a deal in October to distribute XenSource as well.

Ops Center will include a unified management console designed to help users manage both the virtualized and physical components of their IT environments. Schwartz said Sun xVM Server, Sun’s virtualization server, will include code derived from its work with the Xen open source community.

Teich said Ops Center is best-suited for mid- to larger sized companies with 100 to 300 servers or more. “We also have some installations with many thousands of servers that will benefit,” he said.

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