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Virtuozzo Conducts Virtualization Products

Third-Party Management Tools Added

August 15, 2006

The virtualization movement has been described by some in the IT community as fractionalized as different approaches to different problems have permeated the marketplace. This has been noted by the the virtualization vendors, and indeed, earlier today it was announced that several virtualization vendors will collaborate on a "para-virtualization" interface for the Linux kernel that will enable multiple hypervisor use.

But even as IBM, VMWare, Xen, and Red Hat announced their plans, one rival vendor, Herndon, VA-based SWsoft, may have beaten them to the punch with a plan to introduce VMware management tools within their Virtuozzo OS-level software tool, with plans to introduce similar tools for Xen, Microsoft Virtual Server, and Parallels early next year.

Beginning this fall, Virtuozzo management tools will include support for other vendors' virtualization solutions, including VMware virtual servers.

If you ask Serguei Beloussov if this is part of a plan to become a central clearinghouse for all things virtual, the CEO of SWsoft will shake his head and quickly correct you. Yes, that is part of it, but SWSoft's mission all along has been to improve automation of virtualization. Adding management tools for other vendors' virtualization products is simply a logical extension of that goal.

"Virtualization is not the most important thing," Beloussov said in an interview at LinuxWorld Expo this week, "We are doing this as a way of fostering automation."

If anything, SWsoft seems to be positioning itself above the fray in the virtualization world. Beloussov freely admits that there are perfectly valid uses of non-Virtuozzo technology such as VMware. Different tasks require different toolsets. Where Virtuozzo tries to differentiate itself is its inclusion method within the Linux mainline kernel, sharing any technology that has or will be merged into the kernel. Virtualization in the kernel is a known goal for Linus Torvalds and Andrew Morton--and the kernel maintainers are content to let the virtualization vendors hash it out amongst themselves as to what technology is best to merge.

In the meantime, the open source version of Virtuozzo, OpenVZ, has announced the availability of a patch for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 kernel, which continues their efforts for kernel support in the various distros, while mainline kernel development proceeds.

However virtualization is merged into the kernel, SWsoft will come out ahead. This is an advantage his company has over more proprietary vendors like VMware, Beloussov said. Right now, VMware is essentially behaving like another OS vendor--their ESX Server, Beloussov said, is almost an operating system in and of itself. This stand-alone nature may limit their market flexibility.

As for recent comments about the immaturity of Xen, Beloussov seems to concur that right now XenSource's flagship product is not ready for primetime.

"Xen is like a car that runs pretty well," Beloussov opined. "Except it's a car with no air conditioning and no way to roll down the windows."

When Xen is ready, he added, SWsoft will be right there ready to support it.

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