XEN FROM PAGE 29 focused SLES (SUSE Linux petencies, and we’re looking From our perspective, the
Source’s flagship XenEnter- Enterprise Server). forward to putting the new most promising operating
prise in September 2006 (see While there’s no question operating system through its system-based foundation
“XenEnterprise 3.0 works well that Novell’s customers are paces in our Labs soon. for hosting Xen is the plat-
within limits” at eweek.com), interestedintappingvirtualiza- Due in no small part to form that’s currently fur-
the company has burnished tion for their infrastructures, the efforts of Novell and Red thest away from shipping
themanagement toolsitdeliv- it’s less clear whether compa- Hat, the operating system a stable Xen host environ-
ers and added support for nies will wish to host virtual platform most closely associ- ment—Sun Microsystems’
unmodified guest operating instances atop a thick-platform ated with Xen is Linux, which Solaris.
systems such as Windows. solution such as SLES. Xen- also underpins the offerings Sun, which is on track to
XenSource also has been Source and Virtual Iron argue from Virtual Iron and Xen- build Xen-hostingcapabilities
hard at work fleshing out that the thicker the virtualiza- Source. Standing to make life into a test version of its operat-
partnerships with hardware- tion platform, the more poten- easier for all these Xen players ing system this summer, has
focused Xen stakeholders tial there is for trouble. wouldbethe inclusionof Xen a head start on Linux-based
such as Advanced Micro With its recently released into the mainstream Linux rivals with the Containers
Devices and Intel, as well RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise kernel, which would stream- virtualization functionality
as with operating system Linux) 5, Red Hat is work- line support and certification that’salreadybuiltinto Solaris
vendors including Red Hat, ing to demonstrate what a efforts. Xen, however, isn’tthe 10 and its experience with
Novell and Microsoft. traditional operating system only hypervisor on the block, machine virtualization on the
Novell has been pushing vendor can offer in terms and the Linux kernel team is SPARC platform. ´
Xen aggressively for some of delivering a virtualization focused on finding ways for
time now—first in its fast- platform as part of an oper- multiple hypervisor options Advanced Technologies Analyst
moving OpenSUSE Linux ating system product. RHEL to integrate with the kernel Jason Brooks can be reached at
distributions and, since last 5’s virtualization story builds (see sidebar, lower right). firstname.lastname@example.org.
summer, in its production- on Red Hat’s clustering com-
Red Hat Xen, paired with Red Hat’s clustering technology, is one
of the main drivers of RHEL 5, for which Red Hat has introduced more
virtualization-friendly licensing terms.
Novell Novell’s SUSE Linux Server offers Xen machine-level
virtualization, although Novell is smartly hedging its bets with
Virtuozzo operating-system-level virtualization support.
XenSource Xen’s founders are pushing a lean and mean
virtualization appliance path.
Virtual Iron Virtual Iron’s clustering background pays dividends
in node manageability.
Microsoft Microsoft is depending on partnerships with Novell
and XenSource to deliver the solid Linux support required to make
“Viridian” a viable virtualization option when Longhorn Server ships.
Sun Xen host support is expected to enter Solaris Express this
summer; Sun might be in the best Xen position of all the vendors
mentioned here, considering the existing virtualization framework
around its Containers feature.
AMD and Intel Xen and virtualization give customers a good
reason to trade up, and the open-source, rolling update nature of
Xen makes it possible for chip makers to see the results of their
Source: e WEEK Labs
Linux kernel to add VMI
THE NEXT STABLE UPDATE TO THE LINUX KERNEL, VERSION 2. 6. 21,
is slated to include a new feature submitted by VMware
called VMI, or Virtual Machine Interface.
Virtualized operating system instances can enjoy performance and management benefits if their kernels are
modified to communicate with the hypervisor under which
they run. This arrangement is called paravirtualization.
The initial promise of VMI was that it would provide
a common protocol across which multiple hypervisors
could communicate with the Linux kernel instances they
paravirtualize, as opposed to having different sets of
hooks built into Linux for different hypervisors. The idea is
similar to the Linux Security Module framework, on which
both the SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) and AppArmor
rights-hardening technologies are built.
However, VMware’s approach has faced some push-back among kernel developers, and VMware ended up
modifying VMI to plug into a separate kernel paravirtualization interface, called paravirt_ops, which made its
way into the stable Linux kernel with the last update
( 2. 6. 20).
Despite dialed-back ambitions, VMI is set to enter
active service soon, as VMware’s forthcoming Workstation
6.0 will make use of VMI-enabled kernels, including those
that drive Linux distributions such as the soon-to-ship
Ubuntu 7.04. —Jason Brooks