IBM, HP demonstrate fidelity problem with 'open' virtualization; KVM? Really?

Old-school systems makers will back anything that's not VMware

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IBM, HP, Intel and a host of smallish Linux vendors have launched a brave new group called the Open Virtualization Alliance dedicated to creating an open standard in server virtualization for the enterprise.

The OVA seems to be made up of two main groups, neither one of which is really interested in the purpose for which OVA was ostensibly formed.

The first is Red Hat, Novell and Eucalyptus Systems – Linux vendors transparently hoping a big consortium will help expand the Linux-specific virtualization market enough to make them popular again.

The other faction is made up of companies with much broader product lines that worry virtualization is to the 21st century what PC computing was to the 20th, and that the vendor whose hypervisor becomes a de facto standard (VMware) will be this century's Microsoft (when it was still, you know, <em>Microsoft</em>).

These guys, as ITWorld colleague Brian Profitt concludes, are mainly interested in shoving VMware, Citrix and Microsoft hard enough to make a little space for themselves in the market for the basic computing platform for the next few decades.

Not what I'd call <em>virtuous</em> motivations; not the mom-and-apple-pie virtues implied by the phrase "open alliance," anyway.

The other big question, at least for IBM, HP and Intel, is what happened to the rest of their commitments to "open alliances" for the DMTF's OVF, CentOS, Xen , not to mention proprietary hypervisors IBM has supported to one degree or another, including its own PowerVM, Oracle VM Server, Microsoft's Hyper-V and VMware's proprietary-turned-open-source specs VMI and VMDK or HP's HP-UX-only Integrity Virtual Machines.

IBM in particular has been trying to get a handle on virtualization ever since the mid-'90s, when VMware revived a technique IBM had used very effectively on mainframes and Unix machines, but either hadn't thought to promote on x86 servers, or was simply beaten to the punch by VMware. And Citrix. And Microsfot. And Oracle. And a lot of other companies.

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