Organizations preparing to move to virtual environments will find broader options in 2007 as competitors to market leader VMware emerge with enhanced, enterprise-ready offerings.
One example is XenSource, which is expected to formally unveil a handful of products that range from free software to an enterprise-caliber package that includes management tools and support for both Linux and Windows virtual machines.
XenSource, the company formed to provide commercial support for the open source Xen virtualization software, introduced XenEnterprise a little over a month ago. By hooking into virtualization capabilities built into new processors from Intel and AMD, XenEnterprise can support both Windows and Linux virtual machines. Previously, XenEnterprise only ran Linux.
In addition to XenEnterprise, XenSource is introducing XenServer for Windows server environments and is joining both VMware and Microsoft by rolling out a free offering, XenExpress. Virtual Iron also introduced a free virtualization package on Monday.
XenSource executives say all three products are built on the same architecture, enabling users to easily move among the products. Each runs on any x86 hardware, although organizations looking for Windows support must run the software on new virtualization-enabled x86 machines.
The products support various distributions of Linux, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server and Debian. XenEnterprise running on Intel VT or AMD-V hardware supports Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP virtual machines; support for Windows Server 2000 virtual machines is expected in the first quarter of next year, XenSource says.
XenEnterprise is priced starting at US$488 for an annual subscription license per dual-socket server, and US$750 for a perpetual license per dual-socket server. XenServer is priced at just less than US$100 for an annual subscription license for a dual-socket server. XenExpress can be downloaded free.