Sun Open Sources Their Hypervisor

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 11, 2008

Hypervisors - bare-metal virtualization solutions that don't depend on an underlying operating system - used to be the high-priced spread of the virtualization world. You can still pay a pretty penny for hypervisor solutions from some vendors. But an announcement from Sun yesterday increases the pressure on purely-commercial solutions: Sun's own xVM Server is now open source.

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, 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). 

This is essentially the same strategy that Sun is using for MySQL: give the open source version away for free, but provide a trusted safety net for companies that want support and training from an experienced organization. It remains to be seen whether this can work in the hotly-competitive virtualization field, but Sun has been reporting successes with similar plans for MySQL and GlassFish.