Sun hypervisor better late than never

Sun hypervisor better late than never

Server virtualisation will come to Solaris next year, says Sun

Sun Microsystems plans to add server virtualisation to its Solaris operating system next year, though its xVM Xen based type 1 hypervisor will be a separately priced and licensed product rather than be integrated within the OS.

Richard Green, Sun senior vice president of software, said Sun’s implementation will be easier to manage and use less system resources than other hypervisors currently available for x86 servers.

This comes from isolating the hypervisor in a separate container within the Solaris OS, so that it can take advantage of physical hardware capabilities like multi-threaded CPUs, 10GbE links, and quality of service (QoS) control features to improve I/O performance, even if the guest OS is unaware of them.

“The challenge is that most type 1 hypervisors are based on Linux kernels, where the physical services available on the machine are blocked by a simpler set of services on the hypervisor itself,” he said.

“We have replaced those Linux kernel functions with Solaris which is much better at fault management, file systems, direct attached storage (DAS) and so on. It is about obtaining the most performance and control.”

The standalone xVM Server implementation is not set to be available until June 2008, by which time Microsoft should also have released its ‘Viridian’ server virtualisation upgrade for Windows Server 2008.

Sun and Microsoft recently signed a licensing agreement that specifically allows for Solaris and Windows to run as guest virtual machines on top of Windows and Solaris based hosts.

Sun is set to introduce virtual machine (VM) management platform, xVM Ops Center, on 1st January alongside a preview of xVM Server. Ops Center will help administrators provision virtual and physical hardware and the guest VMs running on top of them.