Virtualization Software Player Announcement Roundup
Published: February 12, 2008
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
It always seems to be a busy week for news in the virtualization software space these days. While there are not always big announcements, like VMware going public or Citrix Systems buying XenSource, there is always a bit of buzz going on. Rather than break it all up into little stories this week, I thought I would just give you the news rapid fire out of Virtual Iron, Parallels, and Citrix and its new partner, VMLogix.
Let's start with Virtual Iron, which has been trying to position itself as the alternative hypervisor and management tool provider to VMware's Virtual Infrastructure 3 and Citrix' XenEnterprise 3 products. Last week, Virtual Iron said that it had secured its fifth round of venture capital funding, with a $20 million stack of dough. To date, Virtual Iron has raised $65 million from investments by Highland Capital Partners, Matrix Partners, Goldman Sachs, Intel Capital, and SAP Ventures. Virtual Iron says it now has over 1,450 companies worldwide using its eponymous products, that 40 percent of its business now comes from outside of North America, and that its channel has grown by a factor of 10, to 375 partners, in the past year.
Virtual Iron also said this week that it has expanded its distribution agreement with Tech Data in North America to include that distributor's Azlan distribution business and its downstream channel partners in France, Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom.
Over at Parallels, (formerly SWsoft and Parallels separately but now one company), the company has launched Version 4.0 of its Virtuozzo virtual private server containers for Windows and Linux servers. The launch of Virtuozzo 4.0 coincides with the rebranding of SWsoft as Parallels and the co-mingling of the Virtuozzo and related OpenVZ partitioning software with the Parallels hypervisor-style virtual machine partitioning products. Parallels has carved out a niche for itself on Intel-based Mac desktops and laptops and is trying to take on VMware's Workstation product on the PC; the company's long-awaited Parallels Server hypervisor for server platforms, which entered beta testing two weeks ago. Parallels Server can run on any 32-bit X86 or 64-bit X64 server. On the Apple Computer Xserve platform, Parallels Server allows support to multiple virtual instances of Mac OS X Server 10.5, also known as Leopard Server, in virtual partitions, with virtualized Windows or Linux beside it. On other X86 or X64 iron, only Windows, Linux, and Solaris are currently supported in a matrix that has over 50 different possible releases. Parallels Server beta supports up to 64 GB of main memory and virtual machine partitions with up to two processor cores in a single virtual machine image; the production version, available later this year, will allow a VM to span four cores.
With Parallels Virtuozzo 4.0, Parallels is adding support for clustering services inside Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux that allow Windows and Linux instances running inside of virtual private servers to be clustered as if they were distinct physical machines. The updated Virtuozzo partitioning software also includes a more efficient virtual file system (making better use of disk drive capacity), support for quad-core X64 and dual-core Itanium processors, better management and virtual partition backup tools, and tools to manage very large scale deployments, such as those done by hosting providers who like the Virtuozzo product. Many of these new management tools are included in the Parallels Infrastructure Manager, which has an additional cost. Virtuozzo Version 4.0 costs $2,500 for every two processor cores; adding the Infrastructure Manager costs another $500 for every two processor cores in the physical server that is being virtualized.
Parallels also announced this week that it has worked with Canonical, the commercial entity behind the Ubuntu variant of Debian Linux, to have Parallels Workstation available directly to Ubuntu users through the Ubuntu Partner Repository. The repository allows Ubuntu users to pick among thousands of open source and closed source programs and install them on Ubuntu systems. The Parallels Workstation software in the repository is a trial version, but once it is installed, customers can get a key from either Canonical or Parallels to permanently activate it and convert it to a real licensed version. This costs money, of course.
Citrix Systems, which is keen on capitalizing on its $500 million acquisition of XenSource, said this week that the LabManager software from VMLogix, has been certified to work with the XenServer, commercialized implementation of the Xen hypervisor that used to be called XenEnterprise. VMLogix was founded in 2004, and was spun out of an enterprise software maker named Trilogy and backed by private equity from Bain Capital. The company's LabManager tool has nothing to do with test tubes and electronic probes, but rather allows programmers to manage a slew of virtual machine partitions and software stacks inside them to provide a virtual instance of the complex physical test environments where applications are run through regression and platform testing after they are created by developers.
LabManager is similar in concept to a set of products created by a company called Akimbi, which was bought by VMware last year. Subsequent to the acquisition, VMware rebranded the products as VMware Lab Manager, so the space between "Lab" and "Manager" is an important distinction. And so is support for XenServer, which VMware's product does not. Interestingly, the VMLogix product supports the VMware ESX Server hypervisor and the freebie VMware Server hypervisor (which VMware itself does not support with its Lab Manager 4.2) or the Xen hypervisor. And it will support Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor for Windows Server 2008, probably in the third quarter after Microsoft works out any remaining kinks. VMLogix is getting in position to support the xVM virtualization hypervisors from Sun Microsystems (which includes Xen on X64 machines and Solaris containers on Sparc iron) and Oracle's eponymous Oracle VM commercialized implementation of Xen later this year, too.
VMLogix LabManager 3.3 is available now for $25,000 for the management server and $2,500 per physical machine where virtual test and development partitions are running. It can run atop either Windows or Linux.
Wall Street Lets Some Air Out of VMware
Parallels Server Goes Beta as SWsoft Hires Microsoft Uber-Techie
Virtual Iron Teams Up with FalconStor for Full Virtualization
Virtual Iron Expands Linux Support with Release 4.2
VMware's Sales Up 90 Percent in the Third Quarter
Citrix Closes XenSource Deal, Does Deal with Dell and Xen Desktops
Tech Data Bundles Virtual Iron on HP and IBM X64 Servers
XenSource Offers Embedded Hypervisor for Servers
Virtual Iron Beefs Up Server Virtualization with Version 4
Citrix Buys Virtualization Challenger XenSource for $500 Million
The X Factor: Virtualization Belongs in the System, Not in the Software
VMware, XenSource Push Out Beta Virtualization Products
The X Factor: Virtual Server Sprawl
Akimbi Rides the Virtualization Wave to Improve Testing
Parallels Joins the PC and Server Virtualization Fray
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