Sun tiptoes into GPLv3

Sun tiptoes into GPLv3

Virtualization management suite will be Sun's foray into latest GPL version

Sun Microsystems will release its xVM Ops Center virtualization management application under the General Public Licence version 3 (GPLv3), the company revealed at the Oracle Open World conference.

The project marks the first application that Sun puts under GPLv3. Rich Green, Sun's executive vice president for software said that the licence was a "first step", suggesting that the company could pick GPLv3 for additional projects in the future.

Sun released in 2006 Java under the second version of the GPL. GPLv3 was released earlier this year.

"We will continue to advance in lockstep with the GPL community," Green said. "It's a very important part of our strategy."

Sun initially has had some worries about GPLv3, but those had since been cleared up.

"We now announce that we are fine. This enables us to go forward and make this first step."

Sun has previously suggested that it may release OpenSolaris under the GPLv3. The operating systems is currently governed by the open source Common Distribution and Development Licence (CDDL).

Sun's xVM Ops Center allows firms to manage virtual servers in their data centres and is slated for release in December. Administrators for instance can set policies instructing the software to move an application to a different server in case of a hardware failure.

Sun also is preparing xVM Server, a Xen based virtualization server that rivals VMware ESX Server, Oracle VM as well as Linux operating systems with embedded hypervisors from vendors such as Red Hat and SuSE.

Sun's xVM server is based on a trimmed Solaris kernel. The Solaris base allows guest operating systems to benefit from popular features such as the ZFS file system, network virtualization or Dtrace, a tool that allows developers to optimize the performance of applications.

Sun's virtualization software will be available free of charge, with Sun offering support at a fee. Chief executive Jonathan Schwartz touted the cost as one of the main advantages of his virtualization platform over VMware's or Oracle's.

Oracle on Monday unveiled its own virtualization server. The space is dominated by VMware, which lit up the virtualization market earlier this year with its initial public offering. VMware currently is valued at $35bn, more than double Sun's $17bn market capitalization.

Green however dismissed the investor appetite for VMware stock, arguing that the virtualization market is still young and claiming that Sun would offer customers more value.