Sun just announced this week the acquisition of German desktop virtualisation company, Innotek. At Sun's Global Media Summit, I asked Sun Executive VP of software, Rich Green, to explain how Innotek's Virtualbox is different from the other "type 2" desktop virtualisation solutions currently in the market (VMware, Parallels, XenSource...) and how it fits into Sun's own virtualisation strategy dubbed "xVM".
"It's free [...] It's an extremely highly rated product", said Green about Virtualbox.
Beyond free, Virtualbox plugs an important hole in Sun's xVM offering: the desktop. So far, type 1 virtualisation layer xVM a.k.a. the hypervisor, is best suited for "bare-metal" servers. Now with Innotek, Sun can offer a complete virtualisation solution, from the desktop (Virtualbox) to the server (xVM) as well as a management suite (xVM Ops).
Unlike the other type 1 virtualisation solutions, Sun's xVM is based on Solaris. XenSource is based on Linux and VMware/Parallels on their proprietary micro-OS. And Microsoft's hypervisor will probably be based on... Windows!
"If we could introduce a kernel that is as sophisticated as the Solaris kernel with regards to its properties like ZFS, fault management architecture (FMA) or network virtualisation (Crossbow), as part of the hypervisor itself... what we could do is export those properties to all the other guest operating systems, whether its Solaris, Linux or Windows running on that hypervisor [...] Operating systems like Windows will be able to run ZFS...", added Green.
On the video, you could also hear CEO Schwartz took that opportunity to make a little joke... but that's what you get when you deal with a blogger running a $13 billion high-tech company :)