What's Up with xVM?

Things have been very busy here since I last blogged frequently, so there is much to catch up on.  In conjunction with VMworld in September we announced the xVM Portfolio.  There were several products included, so it's time for an update on them all.

On the desktop side, we announed VirtualBox 2.0 last September, and since then have shipped version 2.1 and just this month released version 2.2 to rave reviews.   Also, Sun released our Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) software version 3.0.  3.0 is a major release and it now offers seamless integration between the VDI broker and VirtualBox, as well as Sun's new 7000 series storage appliances. See here for details.

On the server side, we released xVM Ops Center 2.0 in January this year.  Ops Center became Sun's unified systems management tool.  With version 2.0, key features include:

  • Management and monitoring of hardware and operating systems
  • Provisioning of firmware, operating systems and applications
  • World-class patch automation
  • IT compliance reporting
  • A new, super-slick graphical console
  • Scalability to handle thousands of systems

However, the question I've been asked a lot over the past few months is, "Where is xVM Server?"  In October we amped up our Early Access program with xVM Server EA2 and opened the program to hundreds of users.  We later followed up with an EA3 release and added even more users.  We got tons of feedback from users, and while there were many things they liked, there were some major themes that emerged that caused us to re-think parts of our strategy.  These included:

  • Participants requested a “hands off” installation process that could be used to deploy the hypervisor to many servers quickly.  The single-system install was "klunky" and not suited to an enterprise data-center.
  • Participants requested migration capability for guests between hypervisor instances.  Multi-host management was not an add-on option -- it was a requirement for serious use.
  • Participants requested more access to the underlying OpenSolaris instance to allow for more customization.  While people appreciated having a wrapper "appliance" around the core Solaris instance, it was a problem having a totally custom OpenSolaris distro for xVM Server.
  • Customers are now for more interested in larger “cloud” type deployments than smaller consolidation projects

As a result of these and many other observations, we concluded that a general purpose, multi-node solution is required.  Thus, we refocused our efforts around use-cases where Ops Center becomes the central way to manage the hypervisor and the underlying hardware.  In addition, we've started on a trajectory where we will converge the xVM Server and OpenSolaris lines so that exactly the same codebase is used for both. 

This week we released xVM Ops Center 2.1.  It's a substantial upgrade from the January 2.0 release.  It addressed feedback we received from the first 50 customer deployments of Ops Center 2.0 and added a few key features.  One key feature is Power Management.  With Ops Center 2.1 we now include the ability to interface with the Server's on-board Service Processor (ILOM) and create power reports such as:

  • View top 5 servers based on CPU Load and aggregate power usage in a group of servers.
  • View top 5 servers based on CPU load and aggregate power usage in a virtual resource pool.
  • View historical power usage for a server.
  • View historical aggregate power usage of a virtual resource pool.
  • View historical aggregate power usage of a group of servers.

With all the interest in Eco/Green computing we expect a lot of buzz around this.  However, the most interesting item is the release of a set of comprehensive x64 hypervisor management functions.  Ops Center can now:

  • Provision the xVM Server hypervisor onto bare metal servers.  It can do these completely "hands off" and it can do this for multiple servers simultaneously. It does all required network setup and plumbing as well (a major hurdle for our EA customers)
  • Creation of VM guests and provisioning of images to those guests (either via ISO install or network install)
  • Guest snapshotting and backup
  • VMDK file format support and import of VMware Virtual Appliances
  • NFS and CIFS network storage support for guest and ISO images
  • Live migration of guests from one host to another
  • Virtual Pool constructs for policy automation across hypervisor hosts based on load, as well as automatic failure recovery

Ops Center 2.1 includes a bundled xVM Server beta that is available to all Ops Center customers, and we will be running a formal beta program with key, interested customers to ensure this works reliably and at scale for real enterprise deployments.  If you are of of the existing hundreds of xVM Ops Center 1.0, 1.1, 2.0 or Sun Connection customer then you're eligible to upgrade to Ops Center 2.1 (which includes the xVM Server beta) for free.  Please contact your usual sales/support channels for details.  If you're interested to evaluating Ops Center for your datacenter then you can request that here.

I'd like to thank the hundreds of people who participated in the xVM Server EA program.  Your feedback has been been critical to us in ensuring we are building the product that customers need.  In the coming weeks I'll be posting a great deal more information here on what customers are doing with Ops Center and xVM Server, so stay tuned.


So those without Ops Center are left out in the cold. Bummer.

Posted by Dave on April 30, 2009 at 07:50 AM PDT #

i'm really disapointed of sun xvm team you use us for the beta testing and now what we got from this nothing just some thanks !!!!

yes we agreed to take the time to help you with the product but it was suppose to be free as an open source product but now no free xvm server for us and no free ops center ....

so what you are telling us is go see xenserver and vmware they understand more what the client wants froma virtualization product

sorry but you won't have me again for testing purpose and as far as xvm server i think you will die with the product

every other big player have a real opensource product

i will stick with sun os but not for virtualization

sorry guys you lose my vote !

Posted by stéphane on April 30, 2009 at 11:26 AM PDT #

If you'd like a "free" hypervisor from Sun then you still have two choices. First is obviously VirtualBox. However, you can still access the power of xVM inside every copy of OpenSolaris. The full hypervisor is still totally open source and available for virtually any use. Take a look here for more details: http://opensolaris.org/os/community/xen/docs/

Posted by Steve Wilson on May 01, 2009 at 09:26 AM PDT #

Do you plan to include the work done for xVM Server into OpenSolaris ? The API and the web interface were intended to be opensource.

OpenSolaris with an up-to-date Xen (3.4 now), libvirt, COMSTAR, ZFS, crossbow and a great management interface (+ API) would be a great appliance.

Posted by Frédéric V. on May 03, 2009 at 09:35 PM PDT #

All the best Steve. I am sure this product (xVM Server) will appeal to everybody out there with these additional set of features.

Posted by Rohit Sharma on May 13, 2009 at 06:41 PM PDT #

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Thoughts on cloud computing, virtualization and data center management from Steve Wilson, Oracle engineering VP.


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