XenSource has been really busy since the announcement of its acquisition by Citrix Systems. It seems that the company has come forward with quite a few interesting announcements. Here's another one. This time, the focus is on making virtual machine technology pervasive in the world of industry standard systems. To that end, XenSource launched XenExpress™ OEM Edition.
Here's a segment of their announcement:
XenSource, Inc., the leading provider of enterprise-class virtualization solutions based on the high-performance open source Xen hypervisor, today announced XenExpress™ OEM Edition, a new embedded virtualization platform targeted at server vendors and other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
XenExpress OEM Edition enables OEMs to include a full virtualization platform as an integrated component of every server, pre-installed in system flash or on the hard disk. The new product enables the server to boot with multiple BIOS partitions at system power-on, making it ready to install and manage virtual machines. XenExpress OEM Edition offers flexible management interfaces, and full interoperability with both the Microsoft and VMware virtual machine formats.
Here is a list of features of XenExpress OEM Edition:
- This hypervisior is based on the Xen hypervisor.
- This hypervisor includes support for hardware virtualization features from Intel and AMD. XenSource points out that this means that this hypervisor will deliver performance very similar to native performance and it will increase overall platform security.
- There are goodies for OEMs including:
- OEM value-added extensions– optimized for virtualization-ready hardware platforms, enabling OEMs to enhance the serviceability, manageability and security of their customer’s infrastructure, through direct integration of embedded, secure system partitions that implement OEM value-added software enhancements.
- OEM up-sell opportunities for virtual infrastructure – offering a fully featured server consolidation value proposition “out of the box” with easy upgrade to the full XenEnterprise v4 feature set.
A Walk Down Memory Lane
While I was at Digital Equipment Corporation (remember them?), I worked with a group that was attempting to develop a manufacturing process that would allow the customer to select from a number of pre-configured, tested, tuned software environments based upon Intel UNIX. We were planning to have four different database server configurations, four different application server configurations and several configurations for file/print services. Putting all of this together was a nightmare because we didn't want to force hardware manufacturing staff to have to become software engineers. Whatever we came up with had to be fast, easy to use and produce reproducable and reliable results. In the end, the project was canceled because we couldn't do it with the technology that was available at the time.
A Snapshot Analysis of XenExpress OEM Edition
- Strengths - the Xen hypervisor is well tested, extensible and scalable offering opportunities for broad deployment. Since this is based upon the Xen open source project, pricing is expected to be very attractive.
- Weaknesses - although Xen is well established in the Linux market, many organizations are waiting for moves from both Microsoft and VMware. XenSource must move quickly to make its technology pervasive before the others can make their moves. If the pricing rolls out like I expect, it will be very hard for the others to respond.
- Opportunities - wow, I could wax poetic for several hours on this point. All sorts of software could be delivered as virtual machines Installation could be a "once and done" affair.
- Threats - Microsoft and VMware have yet to make moves in this area. Some will wait until they move before making a decision.
This was a good move by the XenSourse folks. They've taken stock of their strengths - low cost, high performance, good levels of scalability - and put them to use.