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Is Xen Out In The Cold?

Some people believe that by forsaking Xen and embracing the open source KVM hypervisor via its recent announcement of version 5.4 Red Hat Enterprise Enterprise Linux (RHEL), that Red Hat is simply playing a "me too" virtualization game that is too little, too late. After all, how can Red Hat gain a solid foothold in a market where VMware rules, Microsoft is coming on strong and XenServer from Citrix is bidding for market share.

In her Sept. 9 blog, ServerWatch managing editor Amy Newman suggests a twist on this scenario that will not put a happy face on the Xen world.

"It is Xen, which has been part of RHEL since version 5 was released in 2007 that stands to lose the most," Amy writes. "RHEL said it will continue to support Xen for the 10-year release cycle of version 5, but it made its aim to migrate customers to KVM quite clear."

Navin Thadani, a senior director of Red Hat's virtualization business, attempted to calm the fears of Xen users in an article that recently appeared in Campus Technology. According to Thadani, "The KVM hypervisor will sit right beside the Xen hypervisor," adding that RHEL customers who have deployed the Xen hypervisor will continue to be supported throughout the full lifecycle of RHEL 5.

Still, it's gotta be enough to make a Xen user nervous.

In her blog, Amy briefly digresses from her Xen tack by referring to her colleague Paul Rubens, who also recently interviewed Thadani. In response to a question about a possible industry shakeout, Rubens quoted Thadani as saying, "We see consolidation as being inevitable, and in the medium term, in this market, we believe that will leave VMware, Microsoft and Red Hat."

Other than being so much unleavened pabulum, that comment seems highly believable.

Anyway, getting back to Amy again, she concludes her analysis of Xen's questionable future by saying, "This leaves Xen out in the cold, or the cloud, which is where the majority of activity has been of late. But with the virtualization vendors scrambling for the cloud, the competition is stiffening there as well."

Who would have thought the cloud would become a second-chance killing floor for technologies that have been ousted from the virtualization penthouse?

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 10/15/2009 at 12:48 PM


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