Friday Oct 17, 2008

The xVM Roadshow Report

I dropped in on the xVM Roadshow yesterday in Broomfield, and I found out a few things.

Celia Cattani, who's one of the sales folks for the Western U.S. and Canada, put the whole event together and lead the discussion. (That's why the roadshow is only a Western-US thing sofar; Hopefully the rest of the world will follow soon.) She introduced the portfolio, and then kicked off demos of each product.

One of the interesting things was that, in the demos for both Sun xVM VirtualBox and Sun xVM Server, they created a guest. In both cases, it was a wizard with a few steps, and was done in a couple minutes.


I was also surprised by some of Sun xVM VDI's capabilities. I've been using it on a SunRay for a while, but I didn't know it could be used through a browser. I'll have to get one of the Sun xVM VDI writers to talk about it on the blog.

Another interesting thing is that either my camera stinks, or I'm a terrible photographer. I suspect both.

The Sun xVM Ops Center demo was pretty cool, although it's hard to give a tool like Sun xVM Ops Center a demo in a few minutes.

The audience also had quite a number of questions. I'll be posting those as well, but they'll get their own post.

Thursday Oct 02, 2008

The xVM Roadshow

So, you probably saw Steve's announcement about the xVM Roadshow. Basically, we're taking the product info sessions and demos that we did at VMworld and showing them off across the country. Here's the tour schedule:

  • Wednesday, October 8 in Santa Clara, CA
  • Thursday, October 9 in Sacramento, CA
  • Wednesday, October 15 in Phoenix, AZ
  • Thursday, October 16 in Broomfield, CO
  • Tuesday, October 28 in San Diego, CA
  • Wednesday, October 29 in Irvine, CA
  • Thursday, October 30 in El Segundo, CA
  • Wednesday, December 10 in Dallas, TX
  • Thursday, December 11 in Austin, TX
  • I thought I'd let you know what you can expect to see if you register. (They're filling up quickly, so register soon if you want a seat.) The demos themselves run from 10 to 12. Here's the daily schedule:

  • 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. - Registration
  • 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. - Overview of the Sun xVM Platform Portfolio
  • 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. - xVM Ops Center Demo
  • 11:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.- Summary, Q&A
  • 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Lunch and Raffle
  • Unless something goes horribly wrong, I'll be at the one in Broomfield. So if you aren't able to make any of them, I'll tell you all about it and post pictures of any raffle prizes that I win.

    Thursday Sep 04, 2008

    Sun xVM VirtualBox 2.0 released!

    Sun xVM VirtualBox 2.0 was released today. This is a shiny thing for two reasons - new features and support.

    The new features are the first awesome thing. It's an impressive list, particularly considering that the team's last maintenance release was nine days ago. (Seriously, do you guys sleep?) It includes:

    -Support for 64-bit guests

    -User interface improvements (including a new native interface for OSX Leopard)

    -Host Interface Networking improvements (Added for OSX, beefed up for Solaris)

    -Performance improvements

    -Support for Microsoft's VHD format

    ...among a number of other things.

    The second cool thing about the new release is that you can now get an Enterprise subscription (starting at $30 a year). Now, some of you are probably wondering, 'Why would I pay for something I can get for free?' It's a valid question. There are a couple of reasons. For one, an Enterprise subscription comes with 24/7 support, which big companies and a lot of normal people like to have. Also, an Enterprise subscription lets you deploy Sun xVM VirtualBox using your own deployment tools.

    The announcement also noted that the German government is using Sun xVM VirtualBox on over 12,000 PCs in their embassies around the world, and worldwide downloads are at 6.5 million. Anyone care to guess when it will hit seven million? If so, put it in a comment.

    Friday Aug 29, 2008

    All of your questions answered

    Some folks here at Sun have put together a white paper giving a high-level overview of Sun xVM and how it all fits together. If you're curious about the bigger picture for Sun xVM, and how Sun xVM Ops Center, Sun xVM Server, Sun xVM VDI, and Sun xVM VirtualBox fit together, it's a good read.

    If you still have questions after looking at the whitepaper, you can also take a look at the newly expanded Sun Virtualization page. There are webinars for Sun xVM Ops Center, too.

    And if that doesn't answer all of your questions, then let me know and I'll do my best to answer them.

    Tuesday Aug 19, 2008


    VMworld is rapidly approaching!

    Every year, VMware hosts a big conference for all things related to virtualization. There are educational sessions, product demonstrations, and discussions with experts from all over the industry. This year it's at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas on September 15-18. Steve Wilson, the indefatigable VP of Sun xVM, will be there to talk about Sun's xVM virtualization platform, including xVM VirtualBox, xVM VDI, xVM Ops Center, and xVM Server.

    If by chance you live in Las Vegas, or near enough that you can drop in (after registering), I'd highly recommend it. If not, I empathize, I'm staying home too. But I'll keep you posted on all of the major happenings.

    In other news, MarketWatch posted a story recently about the growing number of companies who are helping us distribute Sun xVM VirtualBox by bundling it with software packages that they're selling, which is good news for just about everyone.

    Also, I've been making some minor changes to the blog - adding some additional links to the sidebar and hopefully making it a bit more useful. Let me know if you like or hate it.

    Thursday Jul 17, 2008

    'The Firefox of Virtualization'

    Samara Lynn at ChannelWeb recently posted an article referring to Sun xVM VirtualBox as the 'Firefox of Virtualization.' She elaborates:

    "In many ways, the product is comparable to the browser: it's available under a general public license, delivered with an API set for customization and is cross-platform. With 5 million downloads, VirtualBox is not going unnoticed."

    It's high praise, certainly, but I think it really gets at what we want Sun xVM VirtualBox to be. There are a lot of large and complicated virtualization tools out there, but anyone can pick up xVM VirtualBox and use it anywhere. Regardless of what OS or hardware you've got, you can see what virtualization can do for you. Fancy virtualization toolkits are fine - we sell several of them, after all - but we've got a Swiss Army knife for you, too. It's handy, it's easy to use, and it's a good place to start.

    I probably sound like a broken record when it comes to xVM VirtualBox. "It's awesome and you should try it!" Truth is, I only keep saying that because it's awesome, and you should try it.

    Monday Jul 07, 2008

    Sun xVM Family News

    A couple of things came to my attention when I got back today - news items I'd missed during the three-day weekend. Evidently, my downtime window was longer than most people's. Clearly I need to virtualize myself.

    The first bit of news is that Paul Murphy at Zdnet did a cost-comparison between SunRays, which use Sun xVM VDI software, and a 'Wintel' setup. He found that SunRays provide cost savings both in the short term as well as the long term - not only do they require much less power and support than desktops, they're also less expensive to buy and set up.

    I also discovered that another sun employee, who goes by the pseudonym 'TheFatBloke' on, just started a blog called VirtualBox Buzz. His aim is to follow news and blogs that relate to Sun xVM VirtualBox. It's only a few days old, but it looks promising.

    Friday Jun 20, 2008

    In the news

    A few bits of news have reached my ears, and I thought I'd pass them along.

    First, Sun announced at the International Supercomputing Conference this week that Sun xVM Ops Center 1.1 is now officially part of the Sun Constellation Software Stack. So if you're in the market for a supercomputer like the Ranger system at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, you can rest assured that its gear management, provisioning, and updating will be top-notch.

    Also, fellow Sun blogger Chhandomay, who looks at reviews of various Sun products, posted a few reviews of Sun xVM VirtualBox yesterday. A lot of the reviews are on people's blogs, which shows that a lot of normal people are giving it a spin. Also, one of the reviewers referred to xVM VirtualBox as 'freaking cool.'

    Finally, I was going to announce that several of my colleagues here at Sun will be contributing to the blog in the near future. So if next week you start to wonder why it sounds so eloquent all of a sudden, now you know.

    Monday Jun 02, 2008

    Sun xVM VirtualBox's latest milestone

    By now, you've probably heard that Sun xVM VirtualBox hit 5 million downloads late last week, and we're getting over 10,000 new downloads every day. If you ask me, it's a pretty cool development, and it shows how useful Sun xVM VirtualBox is to normal people. (I assume you would ask me, since you're reading this blog.)

    I think that what we're seeing with Sun xVM VirtualBox is just the beginning, though. I mean, with millions of people giving this a shot, it's not a niche market. Normal people are deciding that they'd like to be able to use multiple operating systems and experiment with virtual machines, and they're deciding that Sun xVM VirtualBox is the best option.

    We've known for a while that there was interest in virtualization at the corporate level. But the continuing success of Sun xVM VirtualBox shows that there's interest on every level. And that's a good sign.

    Thursday May 22, 2008

    ZDNet's 'Virtualization Smackdown'

    ZDNet had a review yesterday comparing VMWare Server 2.0 Beta 2 with Sun xVM VirtualBox 1.6. They had good things to say about both, although they made great mention of Sun xVM VirtualBox's smaller size, its broader array of OS possibilities, and its ability to run more effectively on lower-end systems. They did make recommendations for improvements (saying that they'd like more user-friendly remote management capabilities for Sun xVM VirtualBox), but on the whole they were very impressed.

    Some readers of the article have said that they don't think it's a fair comparison. VMWare Server 2.0 is in beta, they note, and it isn't targeted at the same market as Sun xVM VirtualBox. There's certainly some truth to that.

    However, I can understand how ZDNet chose the two products. As they explain in the article, they wanted to see what options are available for an average person looking for a free virtualization solution. VMWare Workstation is closer in intent to Sun xVM VirtualBox, but it costs $189. And VMWare Server 2.0, even in a beta version, does do many of the same things as Sun xVM VirtualBox, although it's not intended for the same audience and is thus larger.

    ZDNet didn't get into the fact that Sun xVM VirtualBox is open source, which I think is pretty important, but they still recognized it as an efficient virtualization solution with a wide variety of OS options. And really, I think the Sun xVM VirtualBox team deserves the kudos.

    Friday May 02, 2008

    Sun xVM VirtualBox 1.6: The hits keep on coming

    Sun xVM VirtualBox released version 1.6 today. It's the first release since Sun bought Innotek, the company that originally created VirtualBox, and it shows pretty clearly that the acquisition hasn't slowed things down at all.

    Let me back up, though. Sun xVM VirtualBox is a free, open source x86 virtualization tool. You install it on top of your current operating system, and it lets you set up virtual machines using other operating systems. For instance, you can install it on OSX, create virtual versions of Solaris, Gentoo Linux, and Windows XP, and have them all running at the same time.

    With the new version, Sun xVM VirtualBox can be installed on OSX, Solaris 10, and OpenSolaris, in addition to the many flavors of Linux and Windows that had been available. Solaris guests have been given a set of new features, making them much easier to use. It also includes SATA support for up to 32 disks per VM as well as a webservice API and some speed enhancements.

    As I said, Sun xVM VirtualBox is entirely free. Download it and give it a spin.

    Tuesday Apr 29, 2008

    A VirtualBox Moment

    The following describes how we used Sun xVM VirtualBox to help us get a recent project done.

    The People

    • Jyothi, OpenSolaris IPG doc writer/presenter, Menlo Park, CA
    • Damon, Media Designer, Broomfield, CO
    • Mike, Media Designer, Broomfield, CO

    The Situation - Record A Screencast Remotely Featuring The latest Build Of OpenSolaris

    We received a request to record and produce an OpenSolaris screencast intended to have high visibility at the JavaOne.

    As our media resource in Menlo Park was unavailable to perform the recording of the content with the subject matter expert and presenter, we required a solution that would allow us to capture the screencast remotely and make the process convenient for the presenter as well (e.g. no setup required, just show up).

    The Solution - VirtualBox

    Using VirtualBox, plus an OpenSolaris RC1 ISO image, we were able to successfully meet the computing requirements of the presentation.

    This process included:

    • Downloading the appropriate version of VirtualBox for system platform (Windows x86 in this case)
    • Installing
    • Setting up the desired OpenSolaris environment using the downloaded ISO image
    • Configuring the OpenSolaris guest to meet the requirements of the recording

    The Result - Mission Accomplished

    Once the OpenSolaris guest was setup on our Windows host, we provided Jyothi (the demo presenter) access to the instance through VNC. Joythi was able to present while Damon recorded the full procedure using Windows-based tools ( TightVNC + Camtasia Studio.)

    Here's the final outcome of the demo - View the Screencast

    The Bottom Line

    Using VirtualBox provided several benefits given the situation:

    • It allowed us to replace VMware, which has been used in the past.
    • We were able to quickly provide a solution to the presenter by installing OpenSolaris RC1 on the host.
    • It provided the functionality that we really needed (ISO installation, snapshots, adjustable host configuration, etc.)
    Contributed by Damon Kujawa and Mike Patino (IPG Media Design Team)

    This blog provides news and insights about Sun's xVM products, including Sun xVM Ops Center and Sun xVM Server.


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