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Sun signs Dell as Solaris reseller and launches xVM

Sun announced that Dell will resell and support Solaris on its x86 servers. It also launched its xVM virtualization platform at Oracle's OpenWorld conference.

Sun Microsystems Inc. President and CEO Jonathan Schwartz announced Dell Corp. as a new OEM partner for Solaris, and unveiled  Sun xVM, the company's open virtualization and management platform during his keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

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Dell CEO Michael Dell appeared onstage at the event to confirm that the company will support Solaris on its servers. The new partnership with Dell follows a string of collaborations that Sun has formed this year to support Solaris, including OEM partnerships with Intel Corp., IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp..

According to Schwartz, one-third of all downloaded Solaris distributions run on Dell servers, so the demand for support on these boxes is strong.

"There are now 12 million Solaris OS licenses in the market, and the majority don't run on Sun hardware, which makes sense because our hardware isn't the majority. If we want to reach the majority, we have to reach consumers wherever they might be," Schwartz said. "We are in a different phase in our industry now. We aren't drawing boundary lines between vendors anymore."

This year, Sun enjoyed its most profitable Q1 in a long time, and Schwartz attributed that success to a broader Solaris community, which in turn created broader knowledge of Sun's hardware.

Sun intros open source virtualization
Sun is committing nearly $2 billion in research and development to its xVM program, a Xen-based hypervisor combined with management tools to virtualize and manage mixed environments, including Linux, Windows and Solaris operating systems running on x86 server hardware. In addition, Sun's traditional partitioning capabilities for its Sparc-based systems now fall under the xVM program.

Sun xVM virtualization encompasses all data center assets, from networks and storage to applications and hardware provisioning while also eliminating the risk of proprietary dependency, Schwartz said.

"Sun xVM is designed for Intel and UltraSparc and is designed to deal with building out the dynamic data center of the future," said Rich Green, executive vice president of software at Sun.

Despite the fact that Sun's xVM Server is derived from Xen, it also includes technologies like Predictive Self-Healing and ZFS, Schwartz said, which makes these technologies available to Windows and Linux guests for the first time.

Virtualization market leader VMware Inc. dismissed any Xen-based hypervisor's readiness for enterprise deployments. "Sun's platform is another vendor-specific variant of Xen. As industry analysts and customers have noted, Xen's capabilities are missing or are yet to be proven on the dimensions that customers value: product maturity and robustness, enterprise capabilities for management, availability and business continuity, mobility, resource management and performance for commercial unmodified operating systems," said Raghu Raghuram, vice president, products and solutions at VMware.

Sun xVM Ops Center and Sun xVM Server will be the first of the xVM family of products introduced to the market in December.

Sun gets support for xVM
Sun announced industry partners supporting the company's virtualization and management platform including AMD, Intel, MySQL, Quest Software, Red Hat and Symantec.

"When building a virtualization world, you need to make sure you are supported, so we have engaged many partners," Green said. Because xVM is based on the core Solaris technologies, it is already pre-qualified and validated on more than 1,000 systems from Intel, AMD and Sparc, Green said.

In particular, Red Hat and Sun are collaborating to certify and support Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as a guest on Sun xVM and to certify and support Solaris as a guest on Red Hat's Xen distribution. Also, RHEL-based appliances will run on Sun xVM, and the companies will provide joint end-to-end customer support across their respective virtualization platforms.

In addition, Sun and Red Hat are working together to foster libvirt, an open source community for cross-platform virtualization management, where Sun, Red Hat and third-party management tools will interoperate.

Lastly, Sun launched OpenxVM site, an open source community for developers building next-generation data center virtualization and management technologies.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer.

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