With its first commercial open-source solutions expected to launch within weeks, XenSource is poised to challenge VMware and commoditize the virtualization software market, observers predict.
XenSource, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup that oversees the open-source Xen project, is expected to launch in November its first management and automation solutions based on the open-source Xen 3 virtualization engine, said Simon Crosby, founder and vice president of strategy at XenSource.
XenSource plans to build a strong channel program for ISVs and solution providers. It also will offer a single certified Xen code base on which all development will take place to avoid portability problems.
The company recently demonstrated a policy-driven workload management solution for transactional enterprise applications using the Xen hypervisor. A hypervisor enables several operating systems to run simultaneously, unmodified, on a host computer.
“Xen is the first real challenge to VMware in the hypervisor market for the x86,” said Tom Bittman, a vice president at research firm Gartner. “I don’t think Xen will take over the world, as it will be less mature initially, but it will be on the table.”
VMware partners remain unfazed. “If Xen is another way to deliver the core engine, the important thing is you need to be able to be layer upon that,” said Mike Reilly, a managing partner at Foedus, a VMware authorized consulting partner based in Portsmouth, N.H. “What’s important is the ecosystem. How quickly [will ISVs] adopt Xen?”
XenSource initially will go to market this quarter with solutions for Linux and open-source solutions. Windows solutions will be offered in the first quarter of 2006, Crosby said.