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Xen & the Art of Virtualization

Data center startup XenSource Inc. has clinched $6 million in Series A funding as it rolls out its own brand of server virtualization.

The round was co-led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sevin Rosen Funds. There is one thing that sets XenSource apart from most companies getting funded -- its core technology is free.

XenSource, which was founded last year, was spun out of an open source project at Cambridge University that started in 2002. The Cambridge project -- called Xen -- aims to boost the performance of virtualized applications running on multiple servers. But open source means "free," and that's the case with the Xen Hypervisor technology on which XenSource software is built.

So, how will XenSource make money? By offering support and maintenance subscriptions to Xen users, according to the startup's CEO, Nick Gault. Service will be our main focus in the near term but then we will start to provide more management capability,” he says.

Gault, who was hard at work in Cambridge University’s computer lab when NDCF contacted him, admits the company is still thrashing out the specific details of its product roadmap. He does have staffing plans in place with the new cash, though. Gault says he will more than triple staff, which currently consists of eight employees split between Cambridge and XenSource's Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters. Gault expects to increase this number to around 30 by the end of 2005, with around 22 in Palo Alto.

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