Volume 3, Number 32 -- August 31, 2006

OpenQRM Adds Plug-Ins for Solaris and FreeBSD

Published: August 31, 2006

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Qlusters, which has been transforming itself from a maker of proprietary cluster file systems for Windows and Linux to an open source provider of system management tools available through the openQRM project, said this week that it has created plug-ins that allow the openQRM tool to manage servers running Sun Microsystems Solaris Unix variant as well as the FreeBSD open source Unix platform.

Ofer Shoshan, the founder and chief executive officer of Qlusters, says that expanding beyond Linux support with openQRM is just a fact of life. "There is no homogeneous data center in the world that just has Linux," he explains. "We added Windows support to openQRM some time ago, and we needed to add Solaris and FreeBSD support."

The new plug-ins will work on Solaris variants for both Sparc and X86/X64 platforms. Solaris has a vast, and now growing, installed base, which is why Qlusters picked it as the first Unix platform it would support with openQRM. Sun's open sourcing of Solaris last year has revitalized the operating system, which has seen over 5 million downloads in a little more than a year. (Only a fraction of that software is in production, of course.) The popularity of BSD--and FreeBSD in particular among service providers, telecom companies, and a few Internet giants like Yahoo--motivated Qlusters to add FreeBSD support, too. The task of creating FreeBSD agents was made somewhat easier by the similarities between Solaris and FreeBSD.

Shoshan says that the plug-in for FreeBSD can be modified to support NetBSD, OpenBSD, and other BSD variants, and Qlusters is counting on the open source community behind openQRM to do that work. Shoshan says Qlusters is not planning on adding support in openQRM for IBM's AIX variant or Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX variant. So the community will have to create these plug-ins if there is demand for them. It is hard to believe that there is not such demand.

With support for Red Hat and Novell Linuxes, Windows, Solaris, the BSDs, AIX, and HP-UX, openQRM would have support for the dominant installed server bases.

Earlier this month, Qlusters announced that it had created plug-ins for managing and provisioning virtual machines based on VMware's GSX Server (now called simply VMware Server and available for free) and XenSource's open source Xen hypervisor. OpenQRM can also manage computing instances based on the QEMU open source processor emulator, which runs Linux applications compiled for one computing architecture and which can be extended to emulate a complete system, including peripherals, allowing, for instance, for a Windows operating system to run on a Linux machine. openQRM has a plug-in that allows it to manage Linux VServer instances, which are virtualized server slices that share a common kernel and file system and are analogous to Solaris containers, BSD jails, and the openVZ containers created by SWsoft for Linux and Windows machines. A plug-in for VMware's ESX Server hypervisor is in the works and due in September.

While openQRM is available for free, support for the program is where Qlusters makes its money. It costs $750 per managed server per year for support, and all of the plug-ins are covered with that contract. Qlusters also sells a cross-platform, heterogeneous provisioning tool based on openQRM. The open source openQRM tool does provisioning only at the physical server level, which means you have to bop between machines to make changes, rather than working from a single console.


Qlusters Creates Plug-Ins for OpenQRM for Popular VM Hypervisors

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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
Shannon O'Donnell, Timothy Prickett Morgan
Publisher and Advertising Director: Jenny Thomas
Advertising Sales Representative: Kim Reed
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