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…