Sun Virtualization Plan to Include Services, Support

Sun Microsystems unveiled this week a unified plan to bring virtualization technology to enterprises. The company said it will offer virtualization technology and related support services, including virtualization technology for its Niagara T1 processor-based Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 servers; Xen support in Solaris; Life Cycle Services for Virtualization; and extended support for VMware virtualization.

The move to offer support along with its new technology offerings signals a departure from the company’s previous stance on virtualization.

“The fact of the matter is, Sun, for so long, didn’t even talk about services,” Illuminata Senior Analyst Gordon Haff told TechNewsWorld. “I think it goes to show how far services have come at Sun.”

Cost of Cool

Sun touted its Solaris 10 operating system as the cornerstone of its virtualization strategy, and said its cross-platform capabilities and open source availability through OpenSolaris make the platform ideal for growing and managing enterprise datacenters.

“As server sprawl accelerates and power and cooling costs grow, we see an opportunity to apply our years of expertise in network computing and virtualization to help customers solve these challenges,” said Sun Executive Vice President of Systems John Fowler.

Among the new virtualization solutions from Sun is LDoms, a Sun Fire, CoolThreads server virtualization technology that allows servers to run multiple operating systems with Solaris Containers for a reduced server footprint and improved efficiency.

Sun also unveiled free Solution Customer Workshops to assess requirements and total cost of ownership (TCO), and Life Cycle virtualization support, which includes consulting, education and support services specifically for virtualization deployment.

Open Source Head Start

Sun also said it would leverage its partnership with VMware by offering extended support for the virtualization technology on Sun Fire and Sun Blade servers and systems.

In addition, Sun said it plans to fully support Xen virtualization technology in Solaris 10 next year, delivering features such as Predictive Self-Healing, D-Trace, Solaris ZFS and Solaris Trusted Extensions, even for applications not actually running under the Solaris 10 OS, which can be run concurrently with Linux or Windows on a Solaris 10 virtual machine.

Sun’s announcements were viewed by industry observers as a unification of some previously disparate technologies around Niagara and Solaris.

While Sun is doing what it has criticized rival HP for doing in the past — that is, offering “something for everyone” — the firm has nevertheless succeeded in putting together a good portfolio, Illuminata’s Haff said.

“They’re on their way, at least, to developing a pretty good story,” he remarked.

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