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Issue Date: August 2007

Open source virtualisation from XenSource

August 2007
Matthew Aslett

XenSource will later today launch version 4.0 of its open source virtualisation software, giving it 'blow for blow competitiveness with VMware' according to chief technology officer, Simon Crosby.

"Version 4.0 is the result of a long project. It is a major step up in terms of features and brings us into the big leagues," Crosby told ComputerWire. The latest version of the company's server virtualisation software adds live migration and management capabilities as well as new open programming interfaces.
The latest version of the company's XenEnterprise software features XenMotion for live migration of virtual environments, a new management interface called XenCenter, the Xen64 native 64-bit hypervisor, XenResourcePools, which offers the automated management of resources, and XenAPI.
According to Crosby, XenSource's approach to resource pool management has advantages over VMware in that it treats a group of virtual machines as a single pool with shared resources, rather than forcing one of the servers to act as management database for the pool. "It dramatically simplifies the management of servers," he said.
Xen API, meanwhile, is the same application programming interface that is exploited by XenSource partners, and should enable the creation of products that make use of XenEnterprise's virtualisation capabilities.
"It is a pluggable API that can be used to dynamically insert new storage subsystems and storage types," said Crosby, noting that it will enable new storage management capabilities alongside those promised by the company's recent relationship with Symantec.
"As the Symantec relationship unfolds Veritas plugs in as a storage architecture for us," he said. "Symantec is not something we would require but it is certainly an opportunity. We use Xen API for the entire ecosystem."
The delivery of version 4.0 sees a number of changes in terms of how the virtualisation technology is packaged and delivered.
The company continues to make its XenExpres product freely available with a 4 GB memory limit, a limit of four virtual servers per system and a single-server user interface.
Meanwhile XenServer, which has had its former guest and memory limits removed as part of the new functionality upgrade, costs $495 for an annual subscription licenses per dual socket server or $750 per dual socket server for a perpetual license. XenServer 4 includes XenCenter, Xen64 and XenAPI and now has the ability to manage both Linux and Windows virtual machines.
The flagship XenEnterprise costs $1599 per dual socket server for an annual license or $2499 for a perpetual license and includes XenMotion, XenCenter, Xen64, XenResourcePools and XenAPI.

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