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Sun Bare Metal Hypervisors Now GPLv3

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the make-it-up-in-volume dept.

Sun Microsystems 154

ruphus13 writes with some more news for people foretelling the death of VMware. Sun has open sourced their xVM server, their bare-metal hypervisor virtualization solution. What used to once be the cash cow for VMware is now coming under increased threat, and Sun is once again turning to the Open Source community as a weapon. "Sun xVM Server is an outgrowth of the Xen project — which raises the question of why a company would go with Sun's version rather than the Xen one. Apart from its support for SPARC and Solaris (as well as other chips and operating systems), Sun is also building a services and sales organization around a commercial version of xVM server... If you want to kick the tires or cut your costs, you can hop over to xVMServer.org, download the source (GPL 3) and join the community. But Sun is betting that, as deployments move from an initial testing phase to active usage, large organizations will be willing to pay for guaranteed support (starting at $500 per year per physical server)."

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Sun bare metal (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24978233)

Now with more NIGGA!

cheap (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 6 years ago | (#24978259)

$500 bucks a year per physical server is pretty cheap in the grand scheme of things. Basically, you can try out and use it for free as you set the server(s) up, but when you go live, you can have the assurance that proper support brings. Or not. Your choice. Good move on Sun's part.

Re:cheap (5, Insightful)

spydum (828400) | about 6 years ago | (#24978307)

I don't think it will be as successful as they hoped. Sun is far too late to this x86 virtualization game. LDOM's and Containers, and Xen are great technologies, but they just haven't been nearly as flexible as VMWare's offering. Management of the environments (LDOM/Containers/Xen guests) has been very kludgy. This is where VMWare has really gained dominance, and I suspect will retain it. They are years ahead in virtualization management.

Re:cheap (4, Informative)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#24978461)

Truth be told, the new xVM from sun (they bought VirtualBox) is pretty good. Certainly better than VB used to be, since it'll now actually boot windows XP and stuff. If their bare metal stuff is as good, I may just jump ship here.

Re:cheap (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#24978787)

Seconded. VirtualBox is damn fine, and running Windows 2000 in a VM on a Leengux host seems to be a heck of a lot less strain on the host system than the free VMware Player is. (Core 2 Duo, 1GB memory, Kubuntu 8.04.)

Re:cheap (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#24979529)

I'm a happy OS X virtual box user. There have been a lot of improvements and refinements since Sun bought them (the OS X version works, for example :)

Re:cheap (2, Informative)

rufus t firefly (35399) | about 6 years ago | (#24978797)

I don't think it will be as successful as they hoped. Sun is far too late to this x86 virtualization game. LDOM's and Containers, and Xen are great technologies, but they just haven't been nearly as flexible as VMWare's offering. Management of the environments (LDOM/Containers/Xen guests) has been very kludgy. This is where VMWare has really gained dominance, and I suspect will retain it. They are years ahead in virtualization management.

Not to nitpick too much, but there's some apples/oranges comparisons here. Xen is a paravirtualization technology, whereas VMWare is a straight-up virtualization technology. Paravirtualization is usually more efficient with like operating systems, so it does play to a different segment.

It's like saying VMWare is better than Qemu, though Qemu lets me emulate arm and sh4 architecture machines and VMWare doesn't. Different tools for different jobs.

Re:cheap (4, Insightful)

tji (74570) | about 6 years ago | (#24979073)

> Xen is a paravirtualization technology, whereas VMWare is a straight-up virtualization technology.

That may have been true at some point. But, Xen has long ago supported full hardware virtualization (allowing it to run an unmodified OS, such as Windows). And, VMware now supports paravirtualization via "VMI" which they got included in the standard Linux kernel.

In any case, the more important issue is their management capabilities. Xen has struggled in the past because its management was weak compared to VMware. If Sun can put their resources into improving the management side of things, they could make an impact.

Re:cheap (2, Interesting)

rufus t firefly (35399) | about 6 years ago | (#24981921)

> Xen is a paravirtualization technology, whereas VMWare is a straight-up virtualization technology.

That may have been true at some point. But, Xen has long ago supported full hardware virtualization (allowing it to run an unmodified OS, such as Windows). And, VMware now supports paravirtualization via "VMI" which they got included in the standard Linux kernel.

In any case, the more important issue is their management capabilities. Xen has struggled in the past because its management was weak compared to VMware. If Sun can put their resources into improving the management side of things, they could make an impact.

Xen's primary strength, however, is paravirtualization. Anything else on top of that is what you make of it.

Also, there's a nice Virtual Machine management console available in the newer Linux distributions (libvirtd-based). Not perfect, but a step in the right direction for those of us which require paravirtualization.

Re:cheap (4, Informative)

WilsonSD (159419) | about 6 years ago | (#24979385)

We've already shipped over 6 million copies of our desktop hypervisor (xVM VirtualBox), which is available under GPL v2 from virtualBox.org. You should go check it out.

We're putting a lot of resources into virtualization and we're going to surprise people.

-Steve Wilson

VP, xVM
Sun Microsystems
http://blogs.sun.com/stevewilson

Re:cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24980099)

Hey,

I just wanted to say that I am *really* impressed with VirtualBox. It's definitely the best virtualization suite I've used. My one complaint is that I haven't found a way to start random snapshots or to fork a snapshot branch.

Anyway, this isn't a tech support thread; I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate the work you folks are doing over there. Keep it up.

Re:cheap (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | about 6 years ago | (#24980207)

How about setting some Nice Spark workstation for cheap? Sun is such a beautiful company, Java, Virtual Box, and Everything else. One of my favorites like IBM.

Is Sun astroturfing a product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24982115)

Just curious. When's the last time anyone saw a (signed) post from a Sun VP on /.?

Re:Is Sun astroturfing a product? (4, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 6 years ago | (#24982399)

It's "astroturfing" when you try to create an impression of a grassroots support campaign. A post signed by a high-ranking company official with no attempt to hide the fact that he's representing a company is as far from that as it gets. And kudos to Sun for taking /. seriously.

Re:cheap (2, Interesting)

discogravy (455376) | about 6 years ago | (#24980251)

Tell it to Novell: netware was it when it came to networking. Until Windows NT built it in. It wasn't as good as Novell, but it didn't need to be: it was free. MS is going after VMWare's "casual" users -- folks who would be interested but wouldn't lay out bucks for 10 ESX servers to host thousands of VMs. Sun's not competing for VM's market, they're fighting MS and Xen for the scraps coming off the VMWare carcass. VMWare's got years in the game still -- Win2k8 adoption is not exactly lightning-fast, Sun's a technology leader but they're hardly eating up the mindshare much less the actual customers. Give it a few years and MS will be leader in marketshare, VMWare a close second and Sun closing in fast. The only people who say "who needs support if it costs money?" are those whose time is worthless.

Those whose time is worthless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981801)

Or those who don't need support?

I bet if ken wanted virtualization, he would not pay for support.

OTOH, I don't think he'd use an off-the-shelf offering; he'd just take a weekend and code up a better one.

Re:cheap (5, Informative)

twiddlingbits (707452) | about 6 years ago | (#24978835)

Thats not the full costs. I just looked at this the other day for my company. There are a lot of other costs involved if you want support and a 100% Sun solution guaranteed to work. I've also seen no benchmarks versus VMWare.
Pricing Information
Sun offers standalone subscriptions for Sun xVM Server software and Sun xVM Ops Center, as well as additional options that offer the combined benefits of the two products, allowing customers to virtualize and manage at Internet scale. Commercial subscriptions are priced annually in four-socket increments and provide premium 24X7 support, access to the latest, up-to-the-minute patches and updates, as well as installation and training. Available pricing options include:
* Sun xVM Server software: Priced at $500/year per physical server.
* Sun xVM Infrastructure Enterprise Subscription: Priced at $2000 per physical server per year, the enterprise subscription is designed to simplify the management of large scale virtualized environments and includes advanced features, such as management of live migration and of multiple network storage libraries.
* Sun xVM Infrastructure Datacenter Subscription: Priced at $3000 per server per year, this option includes all the features in the Sun xVM Infrastructure Enterprise Subscription in addition to physical server monitoring, management and advanced software lifecycle management capabilities.
* Sun xVM Ops Center: Available from $100 per managed server up to $350 a year, depending on customer selected features, along with a required $10,000 Satellite Server annual subscription for Sun xVM Ops Center.

There are some significant technical restrictions as well if you dig deep you'll find
Disk on which xVM server is installed
* SATA or SAS (serial SCSI) * Fiber Channel to a JBOD * IDE disks are not supported
Attached storage
* NFS/TCP/IP/ethernet remote storage * CIFS remote storage
Networking
* Ethernet-based NICs supporting the Solaris GLDv3 driver specification * only MTUs of 1500 bytes are supported
* For Windows guests, customers wanting full Microsoft support should run xVM Server on Windows Server 2008 logo certified hardware.

Those are restrictions??? (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#24979347)

-IDE drives are not supported as in who uses them in a real server anyway??
-NFS/TCP/IP/ethernet remote storage * CIFS remote storage -- as in that's not enough??
-NICS supporting the Solaris GLDv3 driver specification-- fine
-only MTUs of 1500 bytes are supported (when did you see one smaller recently??)
- Windows Server 2008 logo certified hardware-- that's about all of the servers I know, sadly.

Sun may thwart this one, too, but I'll give them a fighting chance. The model's somewhat sound but I'm eager to see the perf numbers and the real availability costs.

They're called Jumbo Frames, Jimbo (2, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about 6 years ago | (#24979619)

Nobody wants smaller MTUs, but with 1 and 10 gigabit ethernet, they sure as hell want larger ones.

Re:They're called Jumbo Frames, Jimbo (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#24979779)

GBE is FC at the MAC-- and a 1500 byte MTU is totally suitable. As for larger/jumbo frames in 10GBE(+), there's an increase in overhead admittedly.... but what relevant server doesn't use a TOE card to handle that anyway? Mostly moot, IMHO.

Re:They're called Jumbo Frames, Jimbo (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#24979883)

Does it support vlan trunking/tags? IIRC vmware didn't use to support vlan stuff properly.

Re:They're called Jumbo Frames, Jimbo (1)

swb (14022) | about 6 years ago | (#24982369)

Its not just checksum offloading, its the extra bytes making up the frame multiplied by many thousands of unnecessary frames.

MTU (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 6 years ago | (#24980341)

> only MTUs of 1500 bytes are supported (when did you see one smaller recently??)

We run 9000 MTU here on GigE which makes a difference for AoE & 9p

Re:cheap - Bad statistics would lie if they could (1, Insightful)

ancientt (569920) | about 6 years ago | (#24979367)

Just a note, you won't ever see unfavorable benchmarks to VMWware, because they explicitly forbid publishing benchmarks without their authorization. Some time back (maybe a couple years now) VMWare published very biased results showing that (well Optimized) VMWare outperformed (Completely unoptimized) Xen. Xen shot back with Apples to Apples numbers where they showed that in a few special cases they were more less equal, but everywhere else Xen killed in the benchmarks. VMWare promptly threatened suit and pointed to their EULA which effectively says: Use of our product guarantees your agreement that you will not publish any comparisons with other products without our consent.

If you want to find the comparisions, google for "xen vs vmware benchmarks redacted" and see if you can find a copy of the unedited results.

Re:cheap - Bad statistics would lie if they could (4, Insightful)

kscguru (551278) | about 6 years ago | (#24981059)

The FUD machine is in full swing today!

So... disclaimer. I'm a VMware employee, so I do know all about both these benchmarks (even if I had nothing to do with them). Agree the first VMware benchmark was quite skewed, looking at Xen instead of XenSource. The XenSource benchmark showed up, it showed Xen ahead in system-call microbenchmarks (hardware virtualization does well there, but lots of system calls with no I/O isn't representative of the real world) and more or less even on everything else. VMware approved XenSource's whitepaper for publication about two weeks later (which, BTW, is no longer on Citrix's website and not visible on Google). The comparison was not apples-to-apples - XenSource switched from Xen 3.0 to Xen 3.2 in the comparison, and didn't make any software-virtualization/hardware-virtualization tweaks. In other words, XenSource's benchmark was just as skewed as VMware's. And everybody who knows anything about benchmarking knows it.

The summary of that whole mess: XenSource / Simon Crosby got more PR mileage out of making a big deal of EULA restrictions than from any actual performance comparison. They never cared about a performance comparison - it was all a PR stunt to get a great big /REDACTED/ document posted to news sites / blogs.

VMware does not forbid negative benchmarks; they do forbid stupid benchmarks. Usually, some amateur runs Passmark 2D, which is a system-call microbenchmark that doesn't even keep time correctly in a virtual machine. Every single person complaining about that EULA has never bothered submitting results - almost all submissions get approved.

Re:cheap - Bad statistics would lie if they could (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 years ago | (#24981195)

The summary of that whole mess: XenSource / Simon Crosby got more PR mileage out of making a big deal of EULA restrictions than from any actual performance comparison.

Wouldn't it be in vmware's best interest to get rid of the idiotic EULA restrictions then? Trying to shut people up makes you look bad. Letting people publish stupid benchmarks and then demonstrating how they're stupid makes them look bad. Openness is always the answer. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Censorship just makes you look like you have something to hide.

Re:cheap - Bad statistics would lie if they could (0, Flamebait)

rubycodez (864176) | about 6 years ago | (#24981995)

hah, you want to know what can't keep time correctly in a virtual machine, your fucking vmware workstation

Re:cheap - Bad statistics would lie if they could (3, Informative)

Quikah (14419) | about 6 years ago | (#24981511)

Nice FUD.

No, this is not what happened at all. Simon Crosby (biggest blowhard ever), shot his mouth off proclaiming that VMware are a bunch of idiots, but he can't show it cause of the EULA. Well, unbeknownst to all his readers Xen had submitted their paper to VMware for approval, which they did approve and Xen published. It showed that Xen was competitive in most of the benchmarks, but fell short in a number and beat ESX in only 1, SPECjbb on Linux.

Good luck finding anything from this whole exchange, Citrix purged there blogs of the entire ordeal. Here [xensource.com] is the paper WITH the data, no redactions. I am not seeing this "everywhere else Xen killed", could you point it out to me?

As a side note VMware is very liberal with their benchmark policy. As long as you actually benchmark in a sane manner they will let you publish no matter the result.

Slightly OT , but can someone explain... (4, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | about 6 years ago | (#24978319)

... why a VM has to "support" a given OS such as Vista or Solaris or Linux?

FTA: "Apart from its support for SPARC and Solaris..."

Surely if these VMs truly are PCs emulated in software with standard emulated devices then surely any OS than runs on the PC architecture and has drivers for these devices will install and run on these VMs regardless?

Re:Slightly OT , but can someone explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24978387)

SPARC is the hardware platform, and Solaris is the OS that has a version that's tweaked for the SPARC platform. On the SPARC end of things, the VM does need to be written to best take advantage of the hardware that's available. Since Solaris has a version that's also fine-tuned for that hardware, it helps if the VM is also tweaked to take advantage of those optimizations.

Re:Slightly OT , but can someone explain... (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 6 years ago | (#24978543)

As an outgrowth of Xen, I think it's a hypervisor running on the hardware beneath the OS. I suspect that on architectures that don't support virtualization (eg Intel/AMD processors prior to Vanderpool/Pacifica which have a "ring -1" as the most privileged level rather than "ring 0"), the OS would need to be modified. I don't know if Xen in its native form supports whatever virtualization technology is present in the SPARC architecture.

Re:Slightly OT , but can someone explain... (1)

needs2bfree (1256494) | about 6 years ago | (#24978857)

There are also optimization programs that run on the OS the communicate with the hypervisor. These apps need to be written for the specific os that uses them. I cant remember what they're called but they essentially have the function of installing drivers for the emulated hardware. I haven't looked into this, so feel free to add correct or add to what I've said.

Re:Slightly OT , but can someone explain... (1)

mevets (322601) | about 6 years ago | (#24978949)

I think it is about device support. Although it is possible to emulate a given device [ say an ethernet controller or graphics chip ] at the register level, performance and compatibility would be pretty crappy. On the other hand, if they define an 'abstract' device, and provide a matching device driver for the target OS, they can do much better. The other choice is to give the guest OS direct access to the hardware, but that can expose the vm manager maliciousness or incompetence from the guest OS drivers.

Incomplete Emulation (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | about 6 years ago | (#24979243)

No OS uses every possible function of the hardware beneath it, only a subset. Hence, each emulator only emulates those functions, vice the entire hardware set. Smart programmers don't write code they don't need.

Adding an OS to an existing emulator may be as simple as adding a few additional functions to extant code. In real life, though, it can require rewriting many modules to account for unique OS specific behavior and parameter passing bugaboos.

Re:Slightly OT , but can someone explain... (2, Interesting)

joebok (457904) | about 6 years ago | (#24979873)

There is long precedent in the meat world of hardware requirements for operating systems. There are physical "PC architectures" than can't run some OSes. An extreme example, an IBM PS/2 isn't going to be able to run Vista. Less extreme - clever people can get OS X running on some non-Apple hardware, but not all.

A VM is just like another set of hardware - that may or may not satisfy the requirements of the OS and/or work as advertised.

I'm frankly impressed that they work so well! Even after years of using virtual machines, I still think it is fun to see a BIOS screen in a window on my desktop.

Re:Slightly OT , but can someone explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24980031)

Device drivers are one reason, but there are also guest operating system optimizations that can be made: for example, common memory page identification, where multiple VMs with identical pages in memory can have portions of their address space mapped to the same physical memory, with copy-on-write changes. There's also the balloon driver from VMware, which allocs guest memory and marks it as free, so the host can use it for other VMs.

Re:Slightly OT , but can someone explain... (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 6 years ago | (#24980993)

> Surely if these VMs truly are PCs emulated in software

they're not, they *a specific* PC emulated in software. Generic PCs don't exist. We've run into this problem with VirtualBox and people whining that Plan 9 must be broken because VB can't run it.

Re:Slightly OT , but can someone explain... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 6 years ago | (#24982345)

Most virtual machine progs provide optimised drivers for supported operating systems. The one I run most is Parallels Desktop with Windows XP, and the Parallels drivers make a huge difference to performance.

Re:Slightly OT , but can someone explain... (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | about 6 years ago | (#24982367)

Xen and its offshoots use what is called "paravirtualization". To summarize, there are a few calls that an operating system can make to the underlying hardware that are very expensive in terms of CPU utilization. Paravirtualization removes these calls, but requires OS support. Many of these calls are related to memory so, for example, the guest OS communicates with the host OS to allocate memory versus the host OS trying to trap for each of those calls.

The upside is a great improvement in speed especially on newer processors that have hardware virtualization capability. The downside, of course, is that the OS needs modification to do this.

Guaranteed Support? (1)

TheNecromancer (179644) | about 6 years ago | (#24978347)

I'd be leery of any company promising me guaranteed anything. Guaranteed support could mean anything from a full-fledged support staff to an automated phone system designed to loop callers back upon themselves.

If you have worked wiuth Sun.... (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | about 6 years ago | (#24979763)

.... you know the support is good.

They will stay with you across time zones as the Sun raises if you have a major problem.

not a milk cow (5, Informative)

michalk0 (1362753) | about 6 years ago | (#24978349)

vmware does not make its money on bare metal hypervisor. It makes a fortune, and is actually doing pretty good, on enterprise products like vmware infrastructure or virtual desktop environment.
Actually their bare metal hypervisor - ESXi comes for free as well (although not GPLed, but we're not talking about ideology here are we)

Re:not a milk cow (2, Informative)

Ralish (775196) | about 6 years ago | (#24979175)

Actually, it makes a huge amount of money on its bare metal hypervisor. I haven't exactly analyzed their profits based on individual products, but I'd be willing to bet that their bare metal hypervisor and associated technologies is where the big money is made for them. For companies like VMware, it's the enterprise market where they traditionally reap the big profits, and VMware has been a major presence, if not THE presence until recently in the enterprise virtualisation market.

Also, I think you don't quite understand what VMware Infrastructure is. VMware Infrastructure IS their bare metal hypervisor, with various associated technologies included depending on which particular package you choose, all related to the hypervisor featureset; e.g. vSMP, DRS, VMotion, etc...

Finally, ESXi is just one flavour of their bare metal hypervisor, the newest. It's a stripped down version of ESX, their traditional bare metal hypervisor. ESXi is almost entirely remotely managed, and yes, it is free. ESX, on the other hand, is definitely not free, in any way, shape, or form. It differs, in that it is not designed for embedded hardware, but instead, includes not just the hypervisor but a full fledged local management console through a Linux system based off of RedHat Linux (I forget the specific version it is based off).

Each has pros and cons, but keep in mind that ESX has been in existence for many years, ESXi is a newcomer, and so, if you want to compare adoption, ESX will dwarf ESXi. I can't see existing companies that use ESX moving to ESXi, and even if they do, the free version of ESXi doesn't include other features such as VMotion, which must be seperately bought and enabled through license keys in ESXi.

Re:not a milk cow (1)

magister159 (993682) | about 6 years ago | (#24981487)

Finally, ESXi is just one flavour of their bare metal hypervisor, the newest.

I don't think you know what a bare metal hypervisor is. Standard ESX runs on linux. You just don't see it since you're managing it through the console. ESXi doesn't run on linux. It's its own operating system. That's what bare metal means.

Re:not a milk cow (1)

MrDelSarto (95771) | about 6 years ago | (#24981863)

Standard ESX runs on linux.

This is not true. Standard ESX runs Linux for about 2 seconds; it carves out 256MiB for itself, boots and the first thing that happens in the ESX initrd is the vmkernel is loaded, which takes over.

From then on, the Redhat OS running is more like a special VM (has some hooks into the vmkernel, etc) which you use to manage the system.

Re:not a milk cow (1)

lgarner (694957) | about 6 years ago | (#24981901)

The Linux-based service console runs on ESX. ESX runs on bare metal.

Re:not a milk cow (1)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | about 6 years ago | (#24981593)

VMware Infrastructure is their management suite; VirtualCenter. That's their cash cow, not the hypervisor.

They give away the hypervisor for free... have done for a while. They know they can't compete just selling the hypervisor because everyone and their mother has one these days.

And FYI, the advanced technologies such as VMotion are part of the whole "Virtual Infrastructure" suite... the VI suite is what you buy, ESX is part of that suite. The simple fact is that VMware have already toyed with releasing ESX itself for free and may well do so.

Also, having used all sorts of virtualization technologies, I have to say that VMware still has the best solution even just with the standalone ESX. It's far more scalable than the competition, but add in the rest of the VI suite (Vmotion, VirtualCenter, HA, DRS and so forth) and then invest in the wealth of third party tools (free and non-free) and you have a kick-ass scalable, manageable and dependable environment.

I know at least one very large company that has invested a ton of money in a true virtual infrastructre of massive scale... and they're now reaping the rewards in scalability for minimal cost, and management.

Beer ware (2, Funny)

DrDNA (713626) | about 6 years ago | (#24978437)

They should follow the beer-ware model. They won't get rich, but boy will they have fun!

ZFS (2)

houghi (78078) | about 6 years ago | (#24978475)

Please put that under a new license.
More info here [wikipedia.org]

Re:ZFS (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 6 years ago | (#24978583)

You have missed the point.

Sun did not release xVM under the GPL to be nice. They did it to strengthen their position for selling their other products.

Releasing ZFS under the GPL would probably weaken their position, so they are not going to do it.

Re:ZFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24978911)

You have missed the point.

Sun did not release xVM under the GPL to be nice. They did it to strengthen their position for selling their other products.

Releasing ZFS under the GPL would probably weaken their position, so they are not going to do it.

I'd speculate that's true until Linux has a reasonably comparable production-quality filesystem (which will take a while but Btrfs is coming along nicely, Tux3 is in development, NILFS has been resubmitted for review recently, we might see a port of HAMMER at some point too. Not all of these do everything ZFS does but they're all "next gen", support some kind of efficient snapshotting and generally advanced functionality).

I'd speculate that once Linux starts to catch up feature-wise in the filesystem space, the competitive advantage of keeping ZFS CDDL licensed and so not in Linux will be less than the advantage of customers being able to interoperate Linux and Solaris boxes.

In the meantime, there are specs, open source code and plenty of information about ZFS to learn from. Sun gets a boost now, everybody wins in the long run.

Re:ZFS (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#24980527)

I've heard of MILFs (hell, I've fucked a few :). I've heard of VPILFs. but what's a NILF?

Re:ZFS (1)

BrainInAJar (584756) | about 6 years ago | (#24978597)

Why would they want to do that?

Why not give OpenSolaris a whirl instead? Or FreeBSD? Or a Mac?

Face it, CDDL is just much more compatible and fosters more sharing than GPL. It was a good choice.

Re:ZFS (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 6 years ago | (#24979329)

Why not give OpenSolaris a whirl instead? Or FreeBSD? Or a Mac?

Because linux is the most popular open source operating system out there, and if Sun really wanted to play nice with the community they'd make it available to as much of the community as they could.

Re:ZFS (2, Insightful)

BrainInAJar (584756) | about 6 years ago | (#24979421)

Or maybe they want to play nice with as many communities as they can.

If they only wanted to play nice with the biggest community, all others be damned, they'd have just ported it to Windows

Re:ZFS (4, Informative)

BrainInAJar (584756) | about 6 years ago | (#24978645)

Oh, and one more thing. Read that wiki article you posted. The CDDL isn't the problem, it's that Linux's license doesn't permit linking. Not the other way around.

So, why not quit complaining about the permissive license ZFS is under, and start complaining about the restrictive license Linux is under? ( your post should read "Please put Linux under a new license" )

Re:ZFS (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | about 6 years ago | (#24979465)

Well, I guess the GP was aware of the fact that Sun can relicense ZFS in a second, but the Linux kernel might not be able to do it even if a great majority of developers wanted to.

Still, that's not much of an excuse. Also worth noting that even if ZFS was GPL3 (Sun prefers GPL3 over 2, it seems), then that would still not be good enough for Linux. So yes, this is where Linus' choice of license is giving us some problems. Overall it was a good choice, but this is the bad part.

Linus' licencing inflexibility will hurt us all (3, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | about 6 years ago | (#24980123)

Still, that's not much of an excuse. Also worth noting that even if ZFS was GPL3 (Sun prefers GPL3 over 2, it seems), then that would still not be good enough for Linux. So yes, this is where Linus' choice of license is giving us some problems. Overall it was a good choice, but this is the bad part.

It was foolish and short-sighted for Linus to release Linux under the GPL v2 only, and not GPL v2 or later, as recommended by the Free Software Foundation. Now it is virtually (no pun intended) impossible to relicense the kernel under another license (the missing "or later" part), as there have been far too many contributors, some of whom are dead, in prison, or have otherwise vanished from the Community.

Sun prefers GPL v 3 as it does a better job of keeping the code free, particularly with respect to software patents, which, while not a problem for those of us lucky enough to be in Europe (not a problem for the moment, anyway), are certainly a concern in the US and other nations the US has bullied into adopting similar legislation.

As a result, technologies like ZFS are unlikely to ever make it into the Linux kernel. In the coming decades, as more and more technologies come along like this, Linus' inflexible licensing choice is likely to relegate the kernel to a historical footnote, where other kernels, licensed under either the "or later" clause (or other more permissive licenses) will continue. It's a pity, and I say that as one who has been using Linux since 1993, and will continue using it for the foreseeable future.

Re:Linus' licencing inflexibility will hurt us all (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 6 years ago | (#24982339)

Hurt us all? I'm typing this on a FreeBSD desktop, and FreeBSD is getting a lot of attention lately from people who want to play with ZFS. Some of us are perfectly OK with Linus's bullheadedness (although I otherwise completely agree with you).

Re:ZFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24980343)

Sun had the opportunity to license ZFS under whichever license it wished, and it chose one which is incompatible with the GPL.

That was hardly an accident. Sun knows perfectly well that ZFS on Linux would be the competitive straw that breaks the back of OpenSolaris.

Sun have been very good in releasing a lot of good tech to the community, but the CDDL itself was purposefully divisive. No worry though, Tux3, BTRFS and Hammer will all be useful replacements for ZFS on Linux, given a year or two.

Re:ZFS (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | about 6 years ago | (#24982139)

I have a hard time believing that in a world where there are zillions of different F/OSS distros, distro variants, and sub-variants, OpenSolaris would simply cease to exist the moment the ZFS was licensed the way you wish. OpenSolaris stands perfectly well on its own because of its stability, security, scalability, availability of software, and enterprise pedigree.

Re:ZFS (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | about 6 years ago | (#24980499)

Linux is Linux due to that "restrictive" license, without that license we would have nothing.

Re:ZFS (4, Interesting)

BrainInAJar (584756) | about 6 years ago | (#24980701)

Linux is Linux because it was at the right place ( PC's ) at the right time ( BSDi getting sued, no other free UNIX, no UNIX that was worthwhile for the 386 ), nothing more nothing less.

Re:ZFS (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 6 years ago | (#24979241)

What are you saying? That open sourcing the two projects under different licenses makes them looked two faced? That this is an obvious stunt to help their failing virtualization software gain a user base so that it doesn't fail completely? That Sun is an opportunistic supporter of open source and takes advantage of the community instead of actually trying to help it?

Re:ZFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24979975)

Remember the F in FOSS. OSS is exactly what many software businesses are driving towards. OSS is a fair compromise that alone brings a lot benefits to the consumer.

Quality (1, Informative)

gentimjs (930934) | about 6 years ago | (#24978551)

I tried this out a month ago on opensolaris, linux, and solaris10 (both on x86). I've historically been a big supporter of Sun, but .. well .. It just 'didnt work' with solaris as the 'guest' OS. The guest would start up, launch X, and freeze. Default options for host&guest&xVM... Not a good start.

view the code - not run it (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24978607)

http://kenai.com/projects/xvmserver/forums/120-Announcements/topics/59-First-open-source-release-of-xVM-Server?

This release is designed to allow interested parties to view the code - not run it. It will be some time in the future before we have all of the pieces available for you to compile and run your own copy of xVM Server.

But stay tuned, we're getting there :-)

scott

Does xVM really support SPARC? (1)

sinkemlow (843906) | about 6 years ago | (#24978715)

Because the last time I checked, this was x86 only.

Re:Does xVM really support SPARC? (4, Informative)

WilsonSD (159419) | about 6 years ago | (#24979467)

xVM Ops Center supports SPARC and xVM Systems. The current version of xVM Server is focused on x86/x64 platforms, but you can use xVM Ops Center to manage Solaris virtualization technologies like Solaris Containers.

http://wikis.sun.com/display/xvmOC1dot1/Managing+Solaris+Containers+With+Sun+xVM+Ops+Center

-Steve Wilson
VP, xVM
Sun Microsystems
http://blogs.sun.com/stevewilson

Re:Does xVM really support SPARC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981699)

Correct, but Sun has Virtualization solutions across the range of their hardware
x86/x64: xVM server
CMT SPARC: LDOMs
SPARC64: Dynamic System Domains
Solaris (regardless of hardware): Zones/Containers.

Just like with "Java" sun has grabbed the xVM moniker and plastered it across a umbrella of products.

Features (1)

lymond01 (314120) | about 6 years ago | (#24978735)

One thing people here are looking for in virtualized environments are snapshots and disaster recovery simplicity. All the products handle moving VMs from one box to another differently, and so far I've heard VMWare is much easier than the rest. So it's not just hardware and OS support, it's ease of management -- which is VMWare's strength (though you pay for it).

Re:Features (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24978781)

o it's not just hardware and OS support, it's ease of management -- which is VMWare's strength (though you pay for it).

As an IT decision maker, I agree. VMWARE currently leads the management features and reduces the amount of techie time I have to pay for. Human time is far more precious and valuable than licensing, especially after midnight. Since we're a 24x7 shop, simpler management leads to lower operational costs. The hypervisor just needs to be "good enough" and then it's all about the management capabilities.

not to rain on sun's parade, (1)

McBeer (714119) | about 6 years ago | (#24978777)

VMware offers their basic server for free with $350-$450 a year optional support. I don't really see suns offering as much of a blow against them.

xVM is based on Xen... (2, Insightful)

teknopurge (199509) | about 6 years ago | (#24978813)

Which has a boatload of problems. The fact is there is enough competition in the market that just being able to be a hypervisor is not enough - you need to measure up and offer proprietary advantages.

The reason this release is not a big deal is that VMWare spanks the performance of every other hypervisor. VMWare ESX networking is magnitudes ahead of every single other competitor in the benchmarks.

Which benchmarks? (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | about 6 years ago | (#24979817)

Please enlighten us.

Re:xVM is based on Xen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24980203)

VMWare spanks the performance of every other hypervisor

And Xen paravirtualization completely destroys VMWare in terms of performance.

So what then?

Re:xVM is based on Xen... (1)

teknopurge (199509) | about 6 years ago | (#24980435)

not based on our experiences.(first-hand) We don't even offer Xen because of its performance issues under load.

Re:xVM is based on Xen... (1)

Znork (31774) | about 6 years ago | (#24981489)

Performing tests of paravirtual Redhat under Redhat's version of xen (RHEL5.1), it scaled significantly better than ESX under load (concurrent vm's doing kernel compilations on a multi-CPU machine). Tested from 0.5 to 4 fully loaded vms per cpu. Both scaled fairly linearly, but ESX incurred, in comparison, a noticable overhead.

I wouldn't use it (in production) for anything but linux-on-linux virtualization, but if that's the only thing for consideration, the performance advantage is noticable. Combine that with the lack of a linux vic-client and VMWares apparent general disinterest in linux, slow support for new kernel versions, etc, and ESX isn't that palatable an option in comparison.

VMWare is NOT the fastest (1)

FreeUser (11483) | about 6 years ago | (#24980327)

I've benchmarked Windows and Linux under various hypervisors, and that is simply untrue.

Linux under Xen 3.3.0 gets 98% and better bare metal performance (both 32 and 64 bit paravirtualized). VMWare won't paravirtualize 64-bit (though they allude that someday they might), arguing it isn't necessary, BUT 64-bit Linux under VMWare gets nowhere near 98% bare metal performance.

Likewise, Windows (XP, 2003, 2008) under Windows Server 2008 with HyperV performs better than under VMWare ESX, and I say that as one who doesn't care for Microsoft products at all.

Xen and HyperV may have their issues (HyperV in particular doesn't support live migration, and won't until 2010), but performance isn't one of them. For someone wanting to Virtualize on the cheap, and maximize performance, Linux under Xen and Windows under HyperV appears to be the way to go...with Windows on VMWare if you need live migration today. Others may disagree or have other opinions based on their needs, but to religiously proclaim VMWare as the only solution and all other virtualization technologies inferior is, well, partisan, dogmatic, and contrary to the real-world experience and benchmarking of many of us.

Some other interesting Sun stuff (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24978863)

Speaking of Sun, here are some pics of the company's factory [silicon.com] in Scotland. If you like servers it's one to check out...

Re:Some other interesting Sun stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981585)

Speaking of Sun, here are some screenshots of OpenSolaris [thecodingstudio.com] . If you like Desktop Unix it's one to check out...

In other words, you are completely off-topic :P.

Virtual or Paravirtual? (2, Interesting)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | about 6 years ago | (#24978921)

In other words, will this new xVM run unmodified operating systems on ordinary 32-bit hardware that doesn't have hardware VM extensions?

Re:Virtual or Paravirtual? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24979499)

In other words, will this new xVM run unmodified operating systems on ordinary 32-bit hardware that doesn't have hardware VM extensions?

The announcements/websites don't provide much technical info and I wonder about the same thing.

Also, is it a Xen derivative (unlikely, since it is GPLv3) or just sharing the same terminology? Does it come from an Innotek "bare metal" hypervisor I seem to remember? Is it going to run Xen guests?

Xen, KVM, etc. have existsed for a while now (2, Insightful)

paleshadows (1127459) | about 6 years ago | (#24978975)

and didn't put vmware out of business... arguably, sun's hypervisor isn't any different.

Tried it already -- couldn't make it work (2, Interesting)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | about 6 years ago | (#24979027)

The installation of xVM itself on my late-model Dell desktop running a fully updated Windows XP OS but I could never get Ubuntu to install and/or run on three separate attempts. The first time, the Ubuntu install process froze. The second time, it completed but when shutting down to reboot post-install, I got hit with an near-endless stream of error messages and the OS never rebooted. The third attempt also apparently installed but wouldn't boot.

They do claim to support Ubuntu as a guest OS but my experience was a bit different. Your mileage may vary. In any case, I uninstalled it and chalked it up to simply not being ready for prime time.

Bare Metal (0, Offtopic)

Spatial (1235392) | about 6 years ago | (#24979271)

Sounds like a porn magazine for the robot-inclined.



...Do want.

Re:Bare Metal (1)

Spatial (1235392) | about 6 years ago | (#24979923)

Off-topic? Bah. I just wanted to know what it means to say "Bare metal hypervisor," you insensitive clods.

So... (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | about 6 years ago | (#24979305)

-Sun forks a opensource project - Xen
-Sun continues developing their fork in a propietary way
-Now they release it as opensource! OMG we opensourced it!

Sorry, but this is not interesting. This looks like the typical "I'm going to make my own fork" effort. Sun has probably already lost many of the features being coded in Xen right now just because of the fork.

stop talking and start releasing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24979461)

sun's been going on about xVM for god knows how long and it's still "Coming soon" instead of talking they should actually release the product.

Why I'm evaluating this... (3, Interesting)

jregel (39009) | about 6 years ago | (#24979487)

I've been tracking xVM for a while now, along with the other major VM players, for my home VM setup. I've downloaded and evaluated ESXi, XenServer Express and Hyper-V. The one difference that xVM will have that the others don't is a web interface for administrating the VMs. All the others require a Windows application, which in turn requires Windows (I haven't tried using Wine). xVM Server can be administered from any platform running a decent web browser.

The other difference between xVM and other Xen-based hypervisors is the base on which it's built. Citrix XenServer is built around CentOS which is used for the Dom0 (the administrative domain). Sun have built xVM around Solaris, so benefits from the FMA (Fault Management Architecture AKA self-healing), Crossbow (virtualised network stack), Dtrace and ZFS.

There is a lot of cool technology in xVM Server and it's certainly worth a look.

Re:Why I'm evaluating this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24980253)

You might want to check out Oracle's virtualization product, http://www.oracle.com/technologies/virtualization/index.html [oracle.com] , Oracle VM. It also has a browser UI. A new version was just released that has some cool new features (PDF) [oracle.com] .

Astroturf warning: I'm an Oracle employee, but I don't work in the group that develops Oracle VM.

Re:Why I'm evaluating this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24980663)

I've downloaded and evaluated ESXi, XenServer Express and Hyper-V. The one difference that xVM will have that the others don't is a web interface for administrating the VMs. All the others require a Windows application,

Xen itself does not require a Windows application neither a browser. You can operate Xen with a console, no problems at all.

Ask slashdot. (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 6 years ago | (#24980947)

I'm looking at setting up a new server in my house.

Currently I have a old AMD server running debian with VMWare server on it running XP which I can Remote into to do my Windows Only stuff. (Rather than waste space on my MacBookPro with VMWare). XP is doggishly slow (It's only 1.5gHz mobile processor).

I'm looking at turning that into an OpenFiler or FreeNAS machine (it has 2TB of HD on it) and getting a newer machine to help with iPod transcoding, other processing and virtualizing XP.

What should I be looking for in processors? Stuff that supports virtualization? Multiple cores?

Is this going to be a viable solution for me?

Re:Ask slashdot. (1)

jregel (39009) | about 6 years ago | (#24981231)

I've recently bought an HP ML110 G5 for my VM experiments. It's got a dual core Xeon with the hardware virtualisation features that some products require, and it's dead cheap (at least in the UK , from Ebuyer). Has 4 DIMMM slots and can take up to 8GB RAM, four hard drive bays, plus two 5.25" for optical and is very, very quiet once booted. It's what I've used to test XenServer, Hyper-V and ESXi - all work fine (although ESXi needed more than the default 1GB RAM).

Re:Why I'm evaluating this... (1)

ravnous (301936) | about 6 years ago | (#24981485)

Have you found that using a hypervisor-based virtualization product is better than using a hosted one (VMWare Workstation, VirtualBox, VirtualPC, etc.) for someone that regularly needs to switch OSes? For example, I mostly run Vista. Sometimes I find I need to boot up an XP virtual machine in order to do certain things for work since the apps I need to use will not run on Vista. Sometimes I'm in Linux and won't need my main host OS for a while at a time. I'm also trying to learn to write apps for another OS I'm not supposed to be running on my hardware. That runs on bare metal on a separate drive, under dual-boot. Are products like xVM, ESIx, etc. suitable for installing OSes at home and interacting with the OSes on the same machine on which they're running? Does the fact that you are running a very slim management OS versus a "fat" host OS help conserve resources? In other words, it would be nice to turn off Vista when I'm using XP because I want to devote as many resources as I can to XP when I'm using it.

If I can interact with the guests on the same machine on which they're running, how "transparent" is it that you're running virtualized? Does it run as if I were running VMWare Workstation full-screen? In other words, it fills the screen but pops up a little menu at the top when you put your mouse at the top of the screen?

If the answers to these questions are that I'd be better off using a hypervisor-based product, the only thing really holding me back is the thought of migrating my Vista installation. I'm guessing I can't just take an image of my system and install it as a guest since Windows doesn't like to be moved.

Will xVM (or ESXi or Hyper-V for that matter) run inside a VM? I'd love to try it out before I commit to changing.

Re:Why I'm evaluating this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981873)

The one difference that xVM will have that the others don't is a web interface for administrating the VMs. All the others require a Windows application, which in turn requires Windows (I haven't tried using Wine)

Not entirely true, VMware provides a web interface for the VM host.

What gives? (2, Funny)

A440Hz (1054614) | about 6 years ago | (#24981157)

I don't know why Geordi LaForge has to have his vision system under GPL. Let the guy see with out all the red tape! You're giving him a headache with all of this paperwork!

Nice entry on the crashing price of virtualization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24981269)

...over at the 360is blog here [blogspot.com] . Once VMWare used to charge $5K per server, then Citrix halved that, before Microsoft came out with their offering for less than $40! Hypervisors are crashing in price faster than hard drive space.

AG.

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