Virtualization Looms Large at LinuxWorld

San Francisco show reflects the growing demand for specialist virtualization software

August 13, 2005

3 Min Read
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The "V" word was everywhere at this weeks LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco, with a flurry of activity from established virtualization vendor VMware Inc. and startups looking to gain a toehold in the market.

Virtualization of servers and storage is hot at the moment, as IT managers struggle to manage increasingly complex data center infrastructures (see Building Virtual Empires and Suppliers Serve Virtualization).

VMware, which is widely regarded as a virtualization trailblazer, extended its support for virtualized versions of Linux and the Solaris x86 operating systems in its ESX and GSX server products (see VMware Adds OS Support). The idea is that users can now run more operating systems across the same pieces of virtualized hardware.

With VMware’s renewed focus on Solaris, it was hardly surprising to see Sun Microsystems Inc. hitch its storage and servers to the software vendor at LinuxWorld (see Sun Allies With VMware). Solaris started life as a proprietary Sun technology, and the company is now coming under pressure from hardware rivals looking to bolster their own virtualization stories (see IBM's Got Virtual Vision and HP Reaches Blade Milestone).

However, VMware is, for the most part, keeping its technology crown jewels well under lock and key. LinuxWorld is traditionally a time when vendors attempt to play up their open-source creds by making the source code behind their technologies more widely available (see Vendors Gear Up for LinuxWorld, CA Unveils Open Source Challenge, and Oracle Makes Clusters Open Source).Despite unveiling plans to give a small number of partners access to the ESX Server source code earlier this week, Raghu Raghuram, VMware's senior director of strategy, warns that Joe Schmo should not get too excited (see VMWare Opens Up ESX Server). Raghuram told NDCF that only a select few companies will be granted access. “We’re not open-sourcing our technology,” he says. “We’re opening the core source code to a set of commercial partners.” The exec adds that there are currently no plans to open-source any other parts of VMWare.

Virtualization startups were also getting busy this week. Virtual Iron Software Inc., for example, unveiled its plans to support a range of virtualization technologies. First up will be Xen Open Source Virtual Machine, which aims to boost the performance of virtualized applications running on multiple servers (see Virtual Iron Expands Data Center Mgmt, Katana Becomes Virtual Iron, and Xen & the Art of Virtualization).

Another startup, Platform Computing, used LinuxWorld to take the wraps off its VM Orchestrator, a software for controlling how resources are allocated across virtual servers(see Platform Unveils VMO).

But virtualization was not the only thing going on in San Francisco. IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), as usual, used the LinuxWorld feeding frenzy to do its annual impression of a mafia boss at his daughter’s wedding. The vendor made great show of donating source code to the masses and also opened up its Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) for searching documents (see IBM Unveils Apache Services, Code and IBM Opens Analysis Tech Source).

There was method in this madness. With attention firmly focused on IBM’s open-source largesse, the vendor took the opportunity to unveil new software built around UIMA technology. This, it says, can find information by analyzing text within the likes of documents, Web pages, and email (see IBM Unveils Searchware).Other firms making announcements at LinuxWorld included Novell Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL), which is aiming to appeal to Windows users, and Opsware Inc. (NasdaqNM: OPSW), which launched new software for centrally managing Linux, Unix, and Windows servers (see Novell Eases Migration and Opsware Intros Shell). Startup Bivio Networks Inc. also used the event to take the wraps off a new appliance designed to boost the performance of Linux applications (see Bivio Launches 500 Appliance).

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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