Sun joins the extended VMware family

Whatever reservations Sun had about pursuing the virtualisation route with market-leader VMware appear to have evaporated

Sun has become the latest vendor to sign up to deliver VMware server and storage virtualisation products.

The Sun/VMware alliance, announced at LinuxWorld in San Francisco on Wednesday, covers the SunFire x64 servers and the StorEdge 6920 storage system. The two companies also signed an agreement to support Solaris 10 as "a guest OS on future VMware server and desktop products".

Earlier this week, VMware also announced an agreement to turn its software interfaces into standards that rivals can use, a move that could simplify adoption of emerging virtualisation technology.

VMware has been busily assembling cross-industry alliances to protect its leadership in the market for virtual-machine software as it faces up to competition from Microsoft and the open source Xen project.

Until now, Sun has been a missing piece in VMware's strategy to get broad, cross-industry support for its platform. Sun had been reluctant to sign with a company owned by onetime arch-rival in storage, EMC, but those qualms were dealt with when the two companies signed an agreement in June.

VMware already shares virtual-machine software code with a wide range of companies, including major hardware vendors like IBM, HP, Red Hat, Novell, Intel and AMD. Signing Sun as well gives VMware a better chance of establishing a standard on virtualisation.

As part of its agreement with VMware, Sun will resell VMware ESX Server, VMware GSX Server and VMware Workstation.

"Virtualisation opens the network and liberates the customer to implement server consolidation, respond faster with virtual infrastructure and dramatically improve and lower the cost of disaster recovery," said Stephen Borcich, vice-president for partners at Sun, in a statement. "Customers will be able to run Solaris 10 in a VMware virtual machine."