Sun’s xVM is here…

Sun have announced their revolutionary new product xVM. It’s an open source Xen derivative that installs on bare-metal.

Wait a minute… That sounds remarkably like what Oracle did with Oracle VM, which was released about a year ago…

So now we have four big players wanting a share of the market:

  • VMware ESX (ESXi) Server – A proprietory, bare-metal hypervisor. ESX isn’t free, but the ESXi version is.
  • Oracle VM – A free open source bare-metal hypervisor.
  • Sun xVM – A free open source bare-metal hypervisor.
  • Microsoft Hyper-V – A not-so-free proprietory hypervisor that’s not exactly bare-metal.

You have to take the word “free” with a pinch of salt. With most of these tools, the real power comes with the enterprise tools and they cost money. Even so, as far as basic hypervisors go, it’s looking a lot more crowded in free-town.

I guess the one that stands out on this list is Hyper-V because it isn’t really a bare-metal installation. You run Hyper-V on a Windows Server 2008 box and it effectively demotes the server to a partition, or virtual machine. As a result, if you want to run a bunch of Linux VMs, you still have to have the Windows Server 2008 parition managing the lot. Not what I would call bare-metal. I suppose this is less of a hardship for a Windows shop, but it just doesn’t sound like an enterprise product to me. Just an opinion. :)

It looks like the next couple of years are going to be kinda interesting. VMware is still the name on everyones lips, but the profit margins are going to take a bit of a beating as the competition fires up…