Sun increases their VM reach by buying a desktop VM vendor. Wait, Sun has a VM reach?

Sun bought a small German company called Innotek, the maker of an open source desktop VM product called VirtualBox.

Another interesting thing that happened when I had the flu last week was that Sun bought a small German company called Innotek, the maker of an open source desktop VM product called VirtualBox. Not to be confused with "Initech," Innotek's VirtualBox is similar to VMware Workstation, except that it's open source and completely free. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, and many flavors of Linux, and its guest VMs can run basically any x86 OS. From what I can tell this is based largely on code that Innotek (and the open source community) developed themselves. It's not based on any other hypervisor. It appears that Sun will keep VirtualBox free, and that their main goal is to provide a tool that lets developers test their code on multiple different platforms.

Sun's press release mentioned that this would extend their xVM reach, prompting me to think "Sun has an xVM reach?" It turns out that Sun has a family of enterprise-class virtualization products called "xVM" (and "OpenxVM"). There's "Sun xVM Server, " a Xen-based bare metal hypervisor VM server. Unlike other Xen-based servers, such as Citrix XenServer or Virtual Iron, Sun's is (predictably) based on a Solaris kernel instead of Linux (still using Xen though). Sun claims this allows them to add features not found in other Xen-based products, such as Predictive Self-Healing.

Sun also just released a brand-new product called "xVM Ops Center" which adds provisioning, management, and monitoring to xVM Servers.

What do you think? Will tradition non-Sun customers use this stuff? Or will this stay in the Solaris / Sun niche community?

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Everybody wants a piece of the cacke

Hey Brian,

It's been a while.  Sun has been a lot in the Server consolidation and the VDI space since we've last talked.  A lot of the VDI stuff headed up by Warren Ponder who is now at VMWare, but the project and products keep coming.  VirtualBox is aimed at developers, giving them a "VMWare Workstation" like platform that Solaris can be the Host OS for.  We are also working closer with Microsoft on a lot of front, did you know not only are all of our AMD and Intel based servers are Windows Certified, but Sun is now also a Windows OEM?  Watch for Sun at the Windows Server 2008 launch.  Not your fathers Solaris/Sun niche community.


I don't live in the *IX world, but I have heard Solaris referred to as "Slowaris", by more than a few people. So, I want a paravirtualization system that's not fast?  I haven't seen Sun break anything past their niche crowd. Sunrays are good example. They look great until you see the necessary Sun investment. I'll pass.

What neccesary Sun investment is that?  You can use any x86 server from the vendor of your choice.  I don't live in your world, but I guess I could make some stupid unfounded comments about it as well.
I'm a different Guest. Anyways... Don't you need actual SUN serevr to be able to deploy Sunrays? Sunrays would be great if they worked on Windows (i.e. without the need for SUN backend).
Yes that would be great (, but a lot of customers feel that they abstraction gives them more security and more options.  Not to mention far easier management of the end devices.  You do not need a "Sun Server" though, you can choose Dell, HP, IBM, etc.  Your base OS can be Linux or Solaris on that Server.  To fully understand the model, you almost have to see it in action.

I haven't got around to playing with it because I've been busy at home, but VirtualBox looks like a really great VM product.  I especially love that it does seamless integration with the host, and the support vmdk files.  There is a great write review write up on Virtual box see here:

I was surprised at first of Sun's purchase, but then when I really started to think about it, I started to see how smart of a purchase it was.  I really could see Sun beefing up the product some, and then competing with Citrix and VMWare.  Between this and teh purchase of MySQL, Sun has made some smart moves recently.


In fact, Innotek has a Hypervisor already. See the link below:

 rgrds, Bert van der Lingen

Now, when we are talking virtualizing in UNIX,
we must not forget IBM  has been cooking
on their PowerVM (LPAR) for some years now. I have not yet tried using the
product, but I have been told that it's a great product with a lot of nice
features. IBM is also launching there new version of AIX (AIX 6) these days, so they mean it seriously.

I'm actually happy Sun bought them.  I've been using them on my MAC for about 4 months now.  The problem with Innotek (as any open source company), is that engineering time was restricted to investment dollars and resources.

 With Sun comsuming them, maybe I'll see bridged networking on their MAC version before summer!


I think you just did. 

Hope you like your niche.


answer: no, it is not

 the "slowlaris" name came from very old versions of solaris (around 1995- 97) that don't apply today


you forgot to mention LDOM and Zones, that are also part of xVM

 right now, xVM is:

-Xen type-1 hypervisor (para or full virtualization) + Sun-only enhancements (ZFS, DTrace, Crossbow, and others) for x86 processor (server use)

-LDOMs for SPARC processors + the same enhancemens (server use)

-xVM Ops Center

-VirtualBox, type-2 hypervisor for desktop use

-Solaris Zones (OS-level virtualization) and Brandz (ie. Linux zones)


As you can see, Sun provides the wider arragement of virtualization solutions, both for server use (consolidation) and desktop/developer use (testing, debbuging). VMware still lacks OS-level virt. (trying to solve this with thinstall), Parallels lacks the type-1 hypervisor and Microsoft still has to finish Hyper-V...