1: Red Hat is pitching itself hard as the “open” cloud player. It’s new CloudForms Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering promises to let users (buzzword alert) “leverage” existing technologies–virtual servers from Red Hat or VMware, public clouds by Amazon, IBM, and others; and on-premises or hosted physical servers.
Then there’s Red Hat OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) which, Red Hat said, will support Java, Python, PHP and Ruby languages and Spring, Seam, Weld, CDI, Rails, Zend, Django, Java EE and other frameworks.
Isaac Roth, Red Hat’s PaaS Master, said developers just want to develop. Figuring out infrastructure, platform basics, servers, and fundamentals is not how developers should be spending their time.
“God it’s awful,” Roth told reporters on Wednesday. “I just want to write Angry Birds.” His claim is that OpenShift Express will ease their pain.
OpenShift Express, a free set of client development tools, is available now. Two other, higher-end versions, OpenShift Flex and OpenShift Power add more capabilities.
2: Last year, Summit attendees were busy weighing Red Hat’s Xen-for-KVM virtualization switch and what issues they might experience in a Xen-to-KVM migration of their own. Flash forward to this year, Red Hat appears to embrace the idea of multiple hypervisors. It must be that whole “openness” thing. VMware doesn’t share that philosophy, according to Red Hat exec VP Paul Cormier who charged that VMware ”is trying to take the entire world back to the 1980s by locking you into the hardware level with ESX.”
3: Perhaps Red Hat is getting all kumbaya about virtualization because it has no choice. Judging from another Summit session, there’s a heckuva a lot RHEL shops running (gasp!) VMware. Even RHEL shops that would love to go with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) aren’t gonna go there until they no longer have to run RHEV management on a Windows (yes, Windows!) server. That hated Windows requirement will finally go away with the upcoming RHEV 3 release.
4: Judging from the packed session on running high-availability Oracle databases on RHEL, Oracle’s efforts to supplant RHEL with Oracle Unbreakable Linux are falling woefully short.
5: Opinions on Red Hat support remain mixed. Some RHEL customers privately say companies deploy RHEL because they have to prove they’re running a supported OS. But the problem is, when they actually call for support, the results are wildly inconsistent. Two Summit attendees — who work for different government agencies — said they are very happy with RHEL support, although they both also noted that they never, ever use it. Many techie-heavy Linux shops may be in the same boat. (If a support call is never dialed, does support really happen?)
Here’s more cloud news from Red Hat Summit/JBoss World.
Let us know what you think about the story; email Barbara Darrow, Senior News Director at email@example.com.]]>
My very unscientific sampling of conference-goers turned up a mix of reasons that motivated people to attend the recent Red Hat Summit, which equaled or exceeded last year’s event, despite the economic downturn and competition from VMware.
But learning seemed to be the prime motivator. For one thing, the assistant of a workshop presenter observed that the company’s technical workshop was more crowded than the general one, which dovetailed with my experience at other sessions. So I’m guessing that attendees, as a whole, were after highly detailed information to help them do their jobs rather than more topical overviews.
And I’ve just got a hunch that KVM and the coming Red Hat Virtualization platform were a big draw. But you could learn something about this remotely, via Webcasts, news articles, or other outlets. So the real advantage to being there is the additional networking factor.
Two attendees whose primary purpose was networking included Steve Giovannetti, CTO of Hub City Media, and Michael Howard of the U.S. Navy’s Spaware System Center in Charleston, S.C. As a new Red Hat/JBoss Catalyst partner, Hub City Media’s main goal in attending (in addition to being an exhibitor) was “getting to know folks and connecting with customers,” Giovannetti said.
Giovannetti said Red Hat’s vision is “great,” and praised its decision to switch to the KVM hypervisor. Although KVM “has a long way to go,” it’s good that Red Hat will support both KVM and Xen in the interim. “Getting all the virtualization vendors to cooperative will be a challenge… but, ultimately, customers will demand portability,” he said.
Howard, one of three government IT staffers I met at the Summit (a remarkable percentage), also viewed the conference as a networking opportunity. Howard’s main task with the Navy the past four years has been to promote the use of open source in the government and offer user feedback to vendors like Red Hat.
“If I give the open source community our feedback, the taxpayers save millions and the government gets software development for free,” he said.
A Red Hat Enterprise Linux customer, the Navy also is using Red Hat’s JBoss Java application platform and is keenly interested in ensuring that JBoss continues in a strong direction, Howard said.
“JBoss has been great,” he said. “Three of the best JBoss developers in the world work for us.”
David Pullman, a systems administrator for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said he wants to learn more about KVM because NIST is getting ready to expand its use of virtualization. NIST currently has a small virtualization project with Xen and uses a third-party vendor for high availability and live migration. KVM and Red Hat’s SPICE virtualized desktop both sound interesting, he said.
The lone prize-winner I met at the conference was Rick Gideon, chief operating officer of ecommerce.com. Gideon came to the Summit because his company won the JBoss Innovation award for outstanding architecture.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Gideon’s firm hosts 500,000 websites and collaborated with EnterpriseDB, Hyperic, Zimbra and others to build an intelligent platform for websites that can be provisioned automatically and dynamically, shifting services as needed based on business rules, he said. The platform runs on Red Hat and JBoss.
“We’re looking to begin partnerships, “ Gideon said. “We’ll be building and deploying [the new system] this year.”]]>
The company’s virtualization products (launching in the next three to 18 months) include:
The biggest change is a shift to using the kernel virtual machine (KVM) hypervisor, and shifting away from Citrix’s XenServer. This move is the next logical step, following Red Hat’s acquisition of Qumranet in September 2008. Qumranet came with virtualization solutions, including its KVM platform and SolidICE offering, a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).
In the company’s webcast, the question was asked “Why does the industry need another hypervisor?” Despite the fact that is amused some in the IT world, Thadani coolly stated that while Xen was the best hypervisor on the market in 2007 when RHEL 5 was released, “the KVM hypervisor has demonstrated that it offers superior capabilities… so it will be the strategic direction for the future development of our virtualization product portfolio.” He also explained that Red Hat will continue to support Xen until 2014.
Thandani said that by choosing KVM, performance woes would be resolved, citing up to 98% bare-metal performance. He highlighted that KVM, as part of the Linux kernel, takes advantage of the development work that has gone into Linux, including the hardening effort. Additionally, Red Hat and other developers have worked with the government on SELinux, a built-in Linux security component missing from other hypervisors in the marketplace.
Current virtual machine (VM) deployments max out in the 1,000s of machines, and thus they are unable to meet current business needs for more complex operations. Thadani shared that Red Hat’s Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Servers is designed for large-scale systems management, and is capable of scaling to thousands of hosts with Red Hat’s new search-driven user interface, which allows administrators to easily manage a large number of machines, scaling up to the tens of thousands of VMs. High-performance virtualized machines is the area that Red Hat is positioning itself to lead in, according to Thadani.
The stand-alone Red Hat Virtualization Manager for Servers is designed to be implemented with shops less familiar with enterprise Linux. According to the company, it is:
A new, richly featured virtualization management solution for servers that will be the first open source product in the industry to allow fully integrated management across virtual servers and virtual desktops, featuring Live Migration, High Availability, System Scheduler, Power Manager, Image manager, Snapshots, thin provisioning, monitoring, and reporting.
Thadani explained the difference between the stand-alone and integrated virtualization management offerings, equating them to the difference between a point-and-shoot camera and a SLR camera.
“From the stand-alone standpoint, we’ve designed it to be easy-to-use and easy to deploy,” says Thadani. “It is for enterprises without a lot of Linux experience, and we’ve made it easy to use. It’s a new market for Red Hat.”
To sum it all up, Red Hat is harnessing the power and current buzz in caused by virtualization technology and taking advantage of the current economic climate to move into new markets. No pricing has yet been released for the products, but it’s open source.]]>
Red Hat ships the Xen VM with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), with the same Red Hat source code that Oracle uses to build its Unbreakable Linux operating system.
But Oracle chose to go directly to Xen.org to download the source code for its own Oracle VM. While Red Hat runs Xen from within an operating system, Oracle runs its VM on a server. From here the Oracle VM deploys agents or images to computers without an operating system on them, creating virtual servers.
Oracle describes its VM as a console for the management of Xen, complete with a built-in operating system, making it a software appliance. The appliance has paravirtualized drivers for RHEL 4 and 5 but currently runs Windows without paravirtualization, resulting in sluggish Windows performance. Oracle claims its VM is three times more efficient than the leading VM (presumably VMware), but this comparison does not refer to speed so much as to the use of resources on a box. On a box that needs an OS and VMware installed, running via VMware would take up roughly three times the resources; Oracle’s software appliance saves space.
Oracle’s virtualization strategy
The Oracle VM is free to download and use; those wanting support will have to sign up for a paid plan. But Oracle says that its virtualization solution is still cheaper than Red Hat’s. RHEL supports some virtualization (at no extra cost), but full-blown implementation requires an additional product: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform.
The Red Hat solution calls for Red Hat-certified products from third parties, but an Oracle VM will run only Oracle databases, middleware and applications. By releasing its own VM, Oracle avoids third-party complications (such as software dependencies and support finger-pointing) and third-party payments. It also ends up controlling the software stack from top to bottom, including virtualization.
One can presumably find Oracle VM customers among the 1,500 that Oracle says already pay for Unbreakable Linux support (Dell, Stanford University, McKesson and Mitsubishi, among others). The unknown number of customers already running Oracle on VMware now have to decide whether to accept Oracle support (along with the Oracle VM) or continue to run on the competitor’s product with support from Oracle. Oracle customers who already run on Xen will find the switch to Oracle VM easier, of course.
Oracle says it has 9,000 developers at work on its software products, including Linux, and points out that Red Hat’s total employees amount to only 2,000. Oracle needs all its software skills to track Red Hat as closely as possible. Red Hat is upping the ante by announcing that in 2008 it will offer software vendors the Red Hat Appliance Operating System. Applications can be written to this layer to produce a software appliance that will run on any Red Hat system, physical or virtual, no matter where it is located.
Linux has accelerated virtualization
The Age of Virtualization is upon us, and I don’t believe we would have gotten this far this fast without open source software. Virtualization and VMware originated on mainframes, and when IBM finally “got it,” it used Linux to revive a company that was sinking slowly into the past. By adopting Linux, it came up with an OS that could be used on all of its hardware. And by applying its mainframe know-how, it came up with such marvels as the mainframe that could configure itself to be multiple-server instances by day, then turn back into a mainframe at night (for order taking and order batch-processing, respectively) or any combination of mainframe and servers). Moving client/server over to mainframe virtualization eventually gave way to cloud computing. Combined with grid computing, servers and applications are now thought of as “somewhere out there” in a virtual space. Because IBM made these improvements to Linux, the code was fed back into the Linux kernel, which was meanwhile being improved from the other direction (such as hundreds of servers being linked to form a mainframe). The invisible hand of the free market supplied a wealth of code that could be freely downloaded and reworked for anyone’s use.
All this happened in a world in which the dominant computer systems in businesses were desktops that eventually (with the help of open source BSD code) managed to form networks. They used one type of processor design (Intel) and one brand of operating system (Windows). VMware caught the eye of open source developers not only because it allowed network technicians to design, build and test networks while using only a single box, but because it took on the problem of how to use both Linux and Windows on a single box without rebooting.
This achievement rattled the windows in the Wintel offices. A few years earlier, Netscape boasted prematurely about its plans to build a platform that would be OS-independent and died as a result. And IT departments, tired of having to do separate installs for each Windows box, admired the way Linux could be shot over the wire to an unconfigured machine. This was an early virtualization concept that looked ahead to a world we may yet enter, one where the end user’s processor and software may be something other than Wintel. Porting apps would be less necessary if they were written to a layer high enough above the operating system(s).
Long ago, IBM and Apple had a joint venture to develop such a layer. The plan was to use layers to effectively virtualize operating systems and processors. Taligent collapsed from the weight of its own ambitious plans, but we are a lot closer to its goal. Now even Microsoft is getting into virtualization, competing with Red Hat and Oracle to build virtual data centers that most effectively use resources in real time.
Now that the open source Xen project has taken on some of the functions of VMware, what will become of this proprietary product that had so much to do with the current virtualization surge? It is difficult in an expanding market to say that VMware’s sales will drop, for it is already giving away the low-end server version of their product. Because it handles many more operating systems and does more things than Xen, VMware will survive in a specialized marketplace. The question is, will Xen push down VMware prices? Or, as with the move from CentOS to RHEL, will Xen’s position at the low end of the market serve to support a high price for VMware?]]>
Sometimes this process is a headache, but sometimes a project can really surprise you—things just work and upper management is just peachy keen with how the whole thing looks on the balance sheet.
In that vein, SearchEnterpriseLinux.com wants to help its readers discover the best of the best in Linux products for the enterprise in our prestigious SearchEnterpriseLinux.com 2007 Products of the Year awards. We’ve been asking readers and vendors over at SearchEnterpriseLinux.com to nominate a favorite product they’ve used or to nominate their own new product, and now we’ve opened it up to the Intertubes here at the Enterprise Linux Log. Regardless of where you fall — vendor, user or general Linux guru –the deadline is drawing near!
Our editorial team and a select panel of industry experts and analysts are currently accepting submissions online until 5 p.m. PST on Nov. 9, 2007 in a range of categories, including: Server Linux platform product (either a distribution release or a new, integrated server Linux offering); Security applications/tools for Linux on the server; Virtualization product for Linux on the server; and Linux administration tools. You can access the 2007 POY submission page in the link above.
To qualify, new or significantly upgraded products must have been shipped after October 31, 2006, and before November 1, 2007. Submit your entry today and let us know what you think are the top data center products on the market!]]>
Actually, there were several announcements in yesterday’s conference call and webcast: within the typical sales and marketing noise was talk of virtualization at almost every level of the discussion, hosted by a trio of Red Hat executives.
The first of the announcements, regarding the official release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1, was made by Scott Crenshaw, Red Hat’s vice president of enterprise Linux business. In some prepared remarks, Crenshaw went after proprietary virtualization technologies, saying RHEL 5.1′s virtualization delivers broader server support and up to twice the performance that the competition.
The skinny on 5.1
There were no real surprises in this announcement, especially if you’re a regular reader of SearchEnterpriseLinux.com. Back in September we filed a preview article on 5.1 (RHEL 5.1 update tweaks virtualization, Windows interoperability), where we discussed the virtualizaiton updates with a few experts. Jan Stafford, our Senior Site Editor at SEL, had a 5.1 preview up as far back as May from the Red Hat Summit.
RHEL 5.0 was a success when it launched in March. The inclusion of Xen support was almost a full year behind Novell, which had baked in Xen paravirtualization back in June 2006, but it worked as advertised, albeit with a few tweaks here and there. “It’s not half-baked,” Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff told me at the time, “but it certainly doesn’t have the fit and finish we see with VMware.” Not many things do these days, as VMware loves to point out during their quarterly “ESX Server prints money!!!” press conferences. With 5.1 officially avaialble to Red Hat customers via the Red Hat Network, however, the consensus was that the gap got a little smaller.
Also back in September, Jim Klein, director of information services and technology at the Saugus Union School District in Saugus, Calif., told me that RHEL 5.1 is a “significant improvement over version 5 on the management side of things.”
In this regard, the Windows functionality in 5.1 is critical: IT managers are making decisions now about which platform to base their virtualized infrastructure on, Klein said. “If Red Hat can get their Windows drivers out soon, I think they will be well positioned to pick up significant market share in the coming year,” he said (Read Jim Klein’s Enterprise Linux Log guest blog post on Xen and Fedora 7 – J.L.).
Chance of clouds
Moving on, things got a bit cloudy during the press conference as Crenshaw and company (Paul Cormier, v.p engineering; and Brian Stevens, CTO) announced that beta availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a web service that provides re-sizeable compute capacity in the cloud.
In a statement that accompanied the press call, Red Hat said the combination of RHEL and Amazon EC2 “changes the economics of computing by allowing customers to pay only for the infrastructure software services and capacity that they actually use. Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon EC2 enables customers to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, removing the need to over-buy software and hardware capacity as a set of resources to handle periodic spikes in demand.”
As part of this partnership, Red Hat Network will offer a common set of management and automation tools across on-premises deployments and the Amazon EC2 cloud computing environment. Red Hat will provide technical support and maintenance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Amazon EC2. This is the first commercially supported operating system available on Amazon EC2.
As far as pricing and availability are concerned, RHEL on Amazon EC2 is available as a private beta today, with public beta availability planned for the fourth calendar quarter of 2007. Base prices are $19 per month, per user and $0.21, $0.53 or $0.94 for every compute hour used on Amazon’s EC2 service, depending on whether customers choose a small, large or extra-large compute instance size, plus bandwidth and storage fees.
Red Hat Appliance OS, HO!
The final piece of the pie was the pending release of Red Hat Appliance Operating System, or AOS for short. This ISV-themed OS means that in the very near future (first half of 2008, execs told me), ISVs will be assembling appliances for their customers that run on AOS and work with every certified RHEL application under the sun. Hint: That’s a lot, and was exactly the angle Red Hat executives took on the Wednesday call.
“The Red Hat Appliance Operating System will allow applications that are certified on Red Hat Enterprise Linux to be deployed as software appliances on the broadest range of servers in the industry, including those running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, VMware ESX and Microsoft Windows Viridian. Red Hat’s Linux Automation strategy, also announced today, delivers a standardized development, deployment and management infrastructure for the entire Red Hat Enterprise Linux ecosystem,” a statement said. Look for an industry reaction piece from us on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com later in the day.
The Red Hat Appliance Operating System (AOS) is built from Red Hat Enterprise Linux, with which it shares full ABI and API compatibility. It includes the Virtual Appliance Development Kit (vADK) that will allow ISVs to configure the operating system along with their middleware and applications to produce a complete system image.
Red Hat also announced that a range of software solutions on Red Hat Exchange are available for trial and purchase as pre-configured software appliances. Customers can now purchase and deploy an integrated solution consisting of third-party software, JBoss middleware and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The total time necessary to purchase, install and use these solutions is “just minutes,” Crenshaw said.
A lot of PR in this announcement, so we’ll have to see where it goes in 2008. Stay tuned.]]>
One of the goals I had going in was to get details about First American’s new SUSE Enterprise Linux deployment, as well as some additional bits of file serving goodness from the OES2 they installed on top of it. As it turns out, the creme de la creme was the virtualized NetWare servers they were running using Xen paravirtualizaiton. Many NetWare shops simply cannot migrate off that OS, as the applications are customized and cannot run any other way.
Xen: Ready for OES2′s launch?
With the launch of OES2, Novell is trying really hard to entice those last few NetWare shops to make the leap to Linux. They’re doing this by enticing them with virtual NetWare servers running in Xen. That said, was Xen mature enough for First American’s mission critical NetWare applications? Would it perform as well?
At first glance, things were not looking too good.
Kurt Johnston, a lead engineer on the First American migration, wasn’t optimistic. “I did not have high expectations for Xen,” Johnston told me in a call last week. “With Xen being as young as it is, I was expecting it to be very difficult to install and configure a new domU onto dom0.” Johnston and his boss, IT director Dan McDougall, were also wary of performance issues they had read about in trade magazines and had heard from other users throughout the year.
But they were soon pleasantly surprised, and so was I. Xen wasn’t VMware ESX Server, but it was close enough–at least for First American. That, at least to me, was the surprise. It’s been a 24 hour VMware lovefest for the past two years or so, and I hadn’t been up on the subject enough to see any changes in that dynamic. When I talked with analysts in 2006 and ’07 I had always heard Xen had plenty of potential, but like any new technology it needed work. Illuminata senior analyst Gordon Haff, speaking to me for the same article, told me that much of the work needed to prove that potential had been completed throughout 2007. It was a collection of hard work and bug fies; not any single thing, he said.
“The fact is, [Xen] was rather simple to install. It was the ease of installation and configuration that surprised me. I was expecting to use quite a bit of [a command line interface],” Johnston said. Fortunately for First American, there was very little CLI, if any. No headaches, no problems–save one.
There was one issue worth noting about Xen, according to Johnson. He said one thing he would like to see in Xen is in “the paravirtualization side of things”:
“I’d like to be able to somehow mask certain virtual machines and only allow certain LUNs [logical unit numbers] on the SAN [storage area network] to serve and see certain virtual machines, via Xen. I’d like to be able to build in a limit to the different servers to see only specific LUNs on the SAN.”
He went on to say that having the ability to visualize the host bus adapter (HBA) and use Xen to manage virtual Fibre Channel ports would allow LUN masking of these ports and give the ability to grant access to only specified LUNs.
This capability is also still an issue in VMware environments as well, but a support update for N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) in VMware ESX 3.5 was announced earlier this month.
Fixes from XenSource, Novell
But what about XenSource, the corporate entity behind the Xen hypervisor? Or Novell, which was the first commercial Linux OS vendor to bake Xen into its OS? Was a fix forthcoming for those Novell OES2 customers, like Johnston and McDougall, that wanted the same functionality in their environments? Simon Crosby, CTO of XenSource, responded to that question regarding support for N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) via email this morning. He said:
“It’s planned ASAP for XenSource products (Q1 08). The Xen project doesn’t have a storage roadmap – just the hypervisor. Whether any vendor puts a particular storage technology into its product is up to that vendor.”
Novell is working on a multi-vendor fix: “We are working on N_Port Virtualization together with Qlogic and Emulex,” said Holger Dryoff, vice president of management and marketing at Novell. “This will be available in one of the future service packs of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and therefore to OES 2 customers as well.”
I find all of this interesting because it will mean more choices. More choices means competition, and competition means happier customers. Happier customers are more apt to speak to the press and tell their stories. Whether the technology ultimately makes the customers happy, well, that’s what we’re here to find out.]]>
Admittedly, that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well as an iPhone story. That said, I think the implications for today’s revelations about 2.6.23 are far more important to the tech community than some gadget-of-the-moment touch screen phone could ever hope to be.
Andrew Kutz, blogging for our sister site SearchServerVirtualization.com, claimed today that the 2.6.23 release of the Linux kernel breaks VMware Server while at the same time boosts the street cred of Xen and KVM, or Kernel-based Virtual Machine.
[T]he new Linux Kernel, 2.6.23 was released on 2007/10/09. The latest product of the world’s greatest hackers includes a bevy of new features, including increased support for Xen and KVM, two open-source virtualization solutions. Users of those products are probably very happy today, eagerly awaiting the adoption of the new kernel by their favorite distribution in order to take advantage of the increased guest support that comes with it. VMware Server users on the other hand are getting the proverbial shaft. Kernel 2.6.23 has one MAJOR change and one minor change that completely break VMware Server.
I’m not as up to speed on VMware and its relation to the Linux kernel as I ought to be, but Kurtz’s post brought me up to speed pretty quickly. Apparently, fixes for the two problems are not easily executed, which kind of leaves this whole issue flapping in the wind.
Then again, maybe that was the idea, Kurtz waxes hypothetically: “perhaps most interesting of all is the timing. The same Kernel that provides extended support for Xen and KVM also breaks VMware Server. Coincidence? Like I said, I try to air on the side of optimism. How about you?”
I’m a cynical optimist, and I know how important Xen and KVM are in the open source community. I guess that leaves me “undecided” on this issue. What say you?]]>
I checked out the site this morning, and it’s a fairly slick collection of stuff that’s existed for a while (Dr. Jeff Jaffe’s CTO blog; press releases masquerading as case studies crying Novell’s Linux-savvy solutions from the rooftops), alongside brand new video “interviews” with folks like Nat Friedman, chief technology officer, open source; and Crispin Cowan, director of engineering, SUSE Enterprise Linux. These gentleman provide several multi-chapter looks at the technologies Novell is working on today. It’s interesting to note that Microsoft isn’t mentioned anywhere — at least in the few I viewed this morning.
The topics fall into the four main categories that Novell has pushed for the better part of the last year and a half: Desktop, Server, Xen in the enterprise, and AppArmor security. The Xen and AppArmor stuff is fairly interesting, and I imagine both will be getting their fair share of coverage at LinuxWorld next week (both technologies have sessions devoted to them).
There’s also a second site that tackles Unix to Linux migrations entitled “Your Linux is Ready,” that hosts a series of whitepapers, podcasts, blog posts and corporate announcements. There’s also a man in a suit riding a bike. No word yet on whether he’s chasing Red Hat or not (I kid the gecko, honestly).]]>
Here’s what Novell said:
Holger Dyroff, vice president of SUSE Linux Enterprise product management, said that with the release of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Virtual Machine Driver Pack, his company will become the first vendor to offer support for Windows and Red Hat guests running on Xen. In July, Novell will ship drivers for Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows 2003. The virtualization consists of a bundle of paravirtualized network, bus and block device drivers that enable unmodified Windows and Linux guest operating systems to run as virtual machines on top of the Xen hypervisor. Drivers for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and 5 will be released later this summer at no additional charge.
Enter Simon Crosby, who I definitely have to put on my speed dial just in case this happens again. Crosby asks, “when last did your favorite OS vendor make a great public fanfare about delivering two new device drivers, and then charge more than the price of their OS to use them?” Long story short, Crosby breaks down the pricing in real world terms, and finds what Novell is basically saying with its latest virtualization announcement is that two Windows Drivers are worth more than SLES 10. Wow!
So, you pay $349 per year for SLES 10, and an additional $299 per year for up to four Windows VMs, totaling $648. But there’s still no mention of VM management, VHD/VMDK support, backups, P2V, snapshotting, cloning, suspend/resume or the storage management that you’d expect of a useful virtualization platform [...] What’s amazing about the Novell announcement is that for a workload with more than 4 VMs, the total leaps to $1148, and the price of the Windows drivers is about double the price of SLES 10 itself! Now, I’m proud of our high performance Windows Drivers, the ACPI HAL optimizations and comprehensive Windows suspend/resume and live relocation support that we offer, but they are just a part of the product.
Bottom line is this: without the included management tools, Crosby has a hard time believing any IT manager in their right mind would want to pay double to use SLES for Windows virtualization. He concludes with a great question for vendors and IT managers alike: “Can any OS vendor properly understand and consciously optimize the user’s experience with a competitive product?”
They sure are trying, but for now it’s definitely a game of wait-and-see. Does anyone out there care to try and tackle that question?]]>