The battle over the embedded hypervisor

The battle over the embedded hypervisor

Summary: It's no surprise that the virtual machine software companies are doing their best to "get there first" and block the entrance of other competitors. This isn't a new battle (see Speculation about embedded hypervisors or Embedded virtual machine software).

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It's no surprise that the virtual machine software companies are doing their best to "get there first" and block the entrance of other competitors. This isn't a new battle (see Speculation about embedded hypervisors or Embedded virtual machine software). Each of the major competitors are announcing that they've persuaded systems suppliers to embed their hypervisor into the firmware of their products or pre-install their hypervisor as part of the factory software installation.

In late February, VMware announced that it had persuaded HP, Dell, IBM, Fujitsu and Siemens to embedd a special form of their VMware ESX server in their machine. Today, Citrix XenSource fired back with its own announcement.

Here's what Citrix XenSource had to say

Citrix Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:CTXS), the global leader in application delivery infrastructure, today announced a strategic development and distribution agreement with HP that will integrate an enhanced version of Citrix XenServer™ into 64-bit HP ProLiant servers. Under the terms of the agreement, Citrix and HP have jointly developed an integrated server virtualization solution called Citrix XenServer HP Select Edition, which will be marketed to HP and Citrix customers. The new product features an easy-to-use graphical management console and is seamlessly integrated with the same HP Insight Control management software that customers already use to physically administer their HP ProLiant servers. With this new solution, new and existing HP and Citrix customers will be able to deploy and manage a virtualized environment faster and easier than ever before.

Why is this battle important?

As Microsoft can tell you,  having your own technology either embedded in the operating system or embedded in the hardware underneath the operating system gives a supplier a competitive advantage. If a function is already part of the environment, most organizations will simply go along and purchase add-on management tools, service offerings and the like from that supplier rather than purchasing something that might be technically better from another supplier. As those who worked at TGV what happened when Microsoft embedded their own TCP/IP stack in Windows or those who worked at Quarterdeck software when Microsoft embedded its own memory management software in windows.  I believe the term "precipitous decline" applies nicely.

VMware and Citrix XenSource both appear to have learned the lesson that Microsoft's history teaches and are trying to "get there first" before Microsoft's Hyper-V technology has a chance to change the competitive landscape.

It's going to be interesting to watch this one.

Would your organization simply go along with whatever is installed in the operating system or in the server firmware? If not, why? If so, why?

Topics: Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Servers, Virtualization

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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