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Sun fires a GPL3 warning shot

xVM tests the licensing waters
Tue Dec 04 2007, 10:21

SUN IS NOW talking details about xVM, it's new family of VM related management products. There are some previews now, with more meaty bits to follow soon.

The two main parts are xVM Server and xVM Ops Center. The Server is basically a Xen based bare metal hypervisor tweaked for Solaris. The main thing it adds is direct access to Solaris features like ZFS and fault tolerance. What used to be a hardware based BSOD may now be recoverable.

While xVM is slated for x86 CPUs, there will be a SPARC variant based on LDOMs in the not too distant future. Sun says that they will be work-alikes, so hopefully you can manage them all with the same knowledge set.

The other part of it, Ops Center is basically a management console to patch, update and twiddle things running in the VM. When running an environment full of VMs, your number of OS instances goes way up, as does the work needed to control it all.

Ops Center aims at managing all of this, and the first version will only do that when it is released on January 8th. More interestingly, the source code will be put out on December 10 for those into messing around with low level details. To shake things up a lot more, at least some of it, the Common Agent Container, will be licensed under the GPL3. Won't that ruffle some feathers.

V2.0 of the Ops Center is due out in Q2, and that will add actual VM management. Once this comes out, the product will be feature complete, V1.0 hardly seems to warrant the VM part of xVM.

xVM Ops Center is free to download, it is GPL'd of course, and so you don't have to pay a cent for it. If you want support however, it will run you around $100 a server for the basics, and up to $350 per for everything. You can even opt for what is called a Satellite Server subscription where they will come out, set it up and train you as well.

Overall, it sounds intriguing if you have a lot of boxes. You can't beat the price, and the use of the GPL3 is a shot across the bow for a lot of companies. It will be interesting to see who follows their lead, and more importantly if they also follow it up with more GPL3 releases. µ


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