On June 9, Novell and VMware announced an OEM deal over SUSE Enterprise Linux. (SLES). Basically, if you buy vSphere 4 (or 4.1) after June 9th, you get a free copy of SLES to run on any CPU on which you have a valid licence for vSphere. VMware is still fairly vociferous that the hypervisor and the Operating System are separate entities, but in some sense this obviously lines up SLES on vSphere alongside Windows on Hyper-v, in both cases the O/S and the hypervisor are supplied under the same licence.
Now clearly SLES also contains two other hypervisors (KVM and Xen), but you aren’t allowed to use either of them – the SLES license is only for use with vSphere, and you can’t install the SLES on bare-metal or on any other hypervisor. This deal is about SLES as a guest. Novell positions SLES as the “universal guest” running well on every hypervisor, and has optimized drivers for most virtual environments.
As of Service Pack 1, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 (SLES) supports KVM. The bald facts are as follows. SLES 11 SP1 is based on a 2.6.32 kernel and is now full supported on x86_64 processors which support hardware virtualization, for the following guest operating systems:
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP1
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP3
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 SP4
We note there is no mention of other Linux guests or Windows guests. This post follows on from our previous post regarding the demise of Xen in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and perhaps suggests the beginning of the end for Xen-based virtualization in Linux, but the story is far from clear.
In a slightly strange “didn’t they already have Xen in the kernel” kind of way, Novell has certified Suse Linux Enterprise Server as a “perfect guest” running on Citrix XenServer, allowing joint support of the combined solution. The deal is asymmetric (it wouldn’t really make sense to run XenServer on SLES) but it reflects an open approach characteristic of the way Novell operates, in embracing the reality that customers will want to use one of a number of possible hypervisors, and that Novell has to get along with everyone. In return Novell is starting to push it’s PlateSpin Recon product through the Citrix channel.
It’s hard to get a handle on IBM and virtualization, not because it isn’t active but because it is difficult to identify a single strand or theme within its portfolio of products and services . IBM’s high-level cross-brand initiatives are often bland in the extreme – designed to offend none of the IBM product groups. And so it is we currently have IBM’s “Dynamic Infrastructure” a term with a nod to virtualization, but broad enough to include just about anything.