VMworld is clearly the largest dedicated virtualization conference, and yet from an Open Source perspective it is slightly disappointing because the VMware ecosystem naturally attracts proprietary software vendors, and also some of the more interesting activities in Open Source are through multi-vendor foundations which do not have the same marketing budgets as vendors themselves.
Nevertheless, there are a number of key Open Source players, and some interesting smaller players, represented at VMworld.
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.