Sun ships management piece of xVM strategy

By , IDG News Service |  Data Center

Sun is expected Tuesday to ship xVM Ops Center,
a data center automation console compatible with Linux- and Solaris-based x86
and SPARC environments.

Ops Center's features include automatic installation of firmware and bare-metal
operating systems; scanning and tracking of servers in a network; and patch-management
tools for SUSE, Red Hat and Solaris, according to a company statement.

James Staten, an analyst with Forrester Research, said the last feature is
particularly compelling, but not enough to attract a great deal of new business
to Sun's platform.

"The patching mechanism they have is very impressive and works with both
Linux and Solaris, but given that this is a 1.0 product the appeal will remain
mainly with existing Sun customers," he said via e-mail Friday.

"It's a substantially better entry in systems management than their previous
attempts, and much more open," he added.

The Ops Center codebase has already been released under the open-source GPLv3
license and is available at www.openxVM.org.

Sun previously
said
the first commercial version of Ops Center would be available on Jan.
8.

Oren Teich, director of product management and marketing for xVM, said the
company needed additional time to make some final tweaks and improvements in
areas including firmware provisioning and reporting, following requests from
early beta users.

He disagreed with the notion that mainly existing Sun customers will buy the
software, saying the company expects that sales will be split between current
and new users. While it is a 1.0 release, code from two existing Sun products,
N1 System Manager and Sun Connection, are running under the hood of Ops Center's
GUI, he said. "In some ways, this is a very mature project."

Yet the first version has a key omission: support for Windows. "Although
Windows support is not currently available, we're committed to offering it in
the future," Teich said.

Sun is also developing xVM Server, a bare-metal, Xen-based hypervisor with
support for Linux, Solaris and Windows guest operating systems.

While Sun's xVM brand stands for "the intersection of virtualization and
management," according to Teich, the Ops Center 1.0 release does not feature
a broad range of functionality around virtualization. This summer, Sun will
release its hypervisor product and "an update to Ops Center that will have
a lot of virtualization capabilities on top of it," Teich said.

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