Volume 4, Number 13 -- April 10, 2007

Xandros Server 2 To Get Integrated Virtualization and Messaging

Published: April 10, 2007

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Last May, commercial Debian Linux distributor Xandros jumped into the server fray with its Xandros Server. In the next few weeks, the company will be releasing a new version of its server stack, including support for server virtualization and two distributions, one keyed to SMB shops and the other for larger enterprises. Xandros will also break away its Xandros Management Console from its Linux distro and offer it as a separate product that runs on Windows workstations and can manage other Linuxes. The company will also partner to offer email messaging and groupware bundles.

A preliminary bundle of the Scalix email messaging software has been available on the Xandros site for some time and is called Scalix Xandros Edition. The Scalix software, which is a variant of the OpenMail software from Hewlett-Packard that the company licensed a number of years ago and ported from HP-UX to Linux, is unique among various messaging alternatives in that Scalix has created a native implementation of the MAPI protocol used by Microsoft in its Exchange Server and Outlook client. Basically, Active Directory servers and Outlook clients do not know that Scalix is not Exchange Server, which means it can be slipped right into the network unnoticed. Xandros is trying to make a name for itself as a Linux provider that has a distribution that looks and feels--as much as is possible--like Windows. So these two companies are a good match.

Zandros has not been very specific about its server plans, but there will apparently be two different iterations of Xandros Server 2. The Standard Server will be a kicker to the current product, and presumably will include Scalix 11, the most current Scalix release, as well. The Advanced Server variant will include support for various server virtualization features.

The open source Xen hypervisor from XenSource, which has been woven into Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (just launched a few weeks ago) and Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 (which launched last July and which will get an important update in May with Service Pack 1), will be added to Xandros Server 2 Advanced Server. Xen is a bare-bones hypervisor that allows multiple operating systems to run side-by-side on a single physical server. It is unclear if Xandros will just support virtualized Xandros instances on its software, will add other Linuxes, or go so far as to support Windows--but all are possibilities.

The word on the street is that OpenVZ virtual server partitions (which carve up a machine into multiple virtual application spaces but which share a common Linux kernel and file system) will also be supported out of the box with Xandros Advanced Server. It would be interesting to see the Xandros distributions officially supported as guest environments on VMware's VMware Server (formerly GXS Server) and Infrastructure 3 (formerly ESX Server). Xandros server undoubtedly runs atop these VMware products, but official support is a matter of testing and certification.

About a month ago, at the CeBIT computer trade show in Hannover, Germany, Xandros was also showing how the future Xandros Server 2 would include document management software developed by Dutch software company O3Spaces. Specifically, Xandros Server will have O3Spaces Workplace, which can handle open source OpenDocument and Microsoft Office document formats. While Scalix can be used to handle email messages and calendars, it does not offer groupware extensions. O3Spaces Workplace provides the document sharing and collaboration features that Scalix does not target (and intentionally do, by the way).

Finally, with the future Xandros Server 2, Xandros will break out is Xandros Management Console (xMC) as a separate product, which it will call BridgeWays. xMC is the secret sauce that makes Debian a lot friendlier to Windows administrators than it would otherwise be. xMC has been used to manage remote Xandros servers up until now, but with BridgeWays, it will be offered as a separate product that can be used to manage Xandros, Red Hat, SUSE and other Linux servers on a Windows XP or Vista PC. The next step, of course, will be to not just promote the idea of managing Linux machines using BridgeWays on Windows PCs next to Microsoft's Management Console, which manages Windows servers, but to allow BridgeWays to manage Windows servers themselves. There's no indication that Xandros is planning on making such a move, however.


Xandros Partners with Bull to Peddle Linux on Servers

Xandros to Enter the Linux Server Fray on May Day

Xandros Server Goes into Second Beta, Due in Spring

Xandros Puts SMB Server Linux into Beta

Xandros to Create a Linux Server Variant

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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Kevin Vandever,
Shannon O'Donnell, Victor Rozek, Hesh Wiener, Alex Woodie
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