xVM Status Update - VirtualBox, VDI, OpsCenter, Server, Training ... And Information Flow in a Corporation

This entry is quite longer than usual; it started as a short update on the recent 2.1 release of xVM OpsCenter but it quickly grew to cover other intertwined announcements. I could have done several separate posts but a single one seemed more useful, so...

Start with Steve's What's Up with xVM or in the Virtualization Page at Sun.com; the 5 inter-related areas down from there are: VirtualBox, xVM Server, xVM Ops Center, LDOMs and VDI.

VirtualBox (Community; Sun) is a Type 2 ("hosted" VM) virtualization solution. VirtualBox has a very fast release cycle (see ChangeLog) and it regularly adds features and performance and addresses bugs. The last release was 2.2.2 and it has received very positive press reviews (eWeek 1 and eWeek 2). VirtualBox is a solid hit; check the latest Google Trends; also see entries tagged VirtualBox.

xVM Server (Community previously here but now at Xen@OpenSolaris; Sun) is a Type 1 ("native" VM) virtualization solution based on the work of Xen Project and this is the area that seems to be in most flux. Steve addressed some of the points in the above-mentioned entry and later in Free Hypervisor Options. Quoting from the first entry on feedback from the beta program:

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.


xVM Ops Center (Users, Sun) is Sun's unified systems management tool - it provides Management and Monitoring of pysical and virtual assets, provisioning, patch automation and IT compliance. The latest release supports power management and interacts with Sun's ILOM; see Availability of 2.1, Change Page and Demo. Also check the Free Training and the Integration with Halcyon Neuron.

Logical Domains (LDOM) (Community; Sun) allows the grouping of system resources into logical groups to provide very cheap, built-in (no hypervisor) virtualization for Sun's CMT systems. The scope of this technology is more limited than the previous virtualization solutions but it is very efficient and meshes very well with Sun's hardware story. A (separate recent announcement was that of Solaris 10 Branded Zones, an addition to previous Linux and Solaris 8 and 9 zones; see Bob's Zones vs LDOMs for an overview of the two technologies.

Finally there is VDI - Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (Sun). I think of it as SunRay meets VBox: the goal is to maximize IT infrastructure utilization and improve manageability of desktop deployments and the latest release, VDI 3.0, leverages VDI broker, VirtualBox and OpenStorage servers. ZDNet has a Positive Review that ends asking for more publicity on the technology, so... check Markus' series: Installation, Configuration and Usage, Claudia's Demo Configuration Instructions, Deployment Guide, and the Coralville Adoption Story.

Hope this helps to understand how the 5 pieces relate to each other. This entry is also a good example of how blogs, wikis and other self-publishing tools accelerate information flow within a corporation. All the writeups mentioned above are mini-essays on the different topics; they are all published directly by the authors and cross-linked via the internet. Add Blogs.Sun.Com and an Internet Search Tool and I can grab a thread and construct the story... And, if I get it wrong, somebody will correct me... It is not fool-proof, but try to replicate this by registering into N\*\*M mailing lists!

Of course, you need some significant level of transparency in the organization; otherwise one needs to get a legal approval to post anything! The alternative is to try to replicate the internet dynamics within the corporation, which may work for a very large company like IBM, but would not work for us at Sun, and does not help in communicating directly to the customer.

Now back to our short blog entries...


You should split the "Logical Domain" paragraph in two parts.
LDOMs are indeed CMT dependent but Containers (aka Zones) are a generic Solaris feature available on all supported CPU architectures.

Posted by Jean-Louis Liagre on May 11, 2009 at 10:12 AM PDT #

Jean-Louis - You are right; I combined apples and oranges; the last sentence of that paragraph (on Zones) should be factored out/moved out, although Zones on CMTs are very compelling. I think I'll leave the correction just via these comments for now. Thanks

Posted by Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart on May 11, 2009 at 10:48 AM PDT #

LDoms requires a hypervisor; Zones does not. This blog needs serious fact-checking.

Posted by Customer on May 11, 2009 at 12:18 PM PDT #

re: Customer -- Thanks. I knew I was rushing that paragraph. I'll adjust it but I'll also try to get somebody from those teams to do a presentation at our Webinar. - eduard/o

Posted by Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart on May 12, 2009 at 12:01 AM PDT #

I think you're conflating Zone & LDoms in that paragraph. I'm not exactly sure what "is more limited than the previous virtualization solutions" refers to. In any case, a good comparison of Zones and LDoms can be found at.



Posted by Liam Merwick on May 12, 2009 at 10:47 PM PDT #

Liam, thanks for the pointer to Bob's comparison. I've linked to it in the body of the entry. - eduard/o

Posted by Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart on May 12, 2009 at 11:42 PM PDT #

yes! Jean-Louis said right solution.

Posted by Logo Design Company on June 07, 2009 at 04:35 PM PDT #

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