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VMware Introduces Support for Cross-Platform Paravirtualization

Linux Kernel Adopts Transparent, Cross-Platform Paravirtualization with Paravirt-Ops

VMware announced that it is supporting cross-platform paravirtualization with the open-interface standard paravirt-ops in VMware Workstation 6, the sixth generation of its desktop virtualization software product. VMware Workstation 6 became generally available today and is the first commercially available product to support paravirt-ops.

Paravirtualized Linux operating systems are modified operating systems specifically optimized to run in a virtual environment. Unlike current paravirtualization technologies, paravirt-ops enables transparent paravirtualization, which allows users to run the same Linux kernel in paravirtualized mode on a hypervisor as well as on native hardware. As a result, organizations have to support and maintain fewer Linux kernels, saving management costs and simplifying application development.

Paravirt-ops is an open interface developed through a community process that included collaboration from the Linux community as well commercial vendors IBM, Red Hat, VMware and XenSource. Paravirt-ops was included in the latest version of the Linux kernel (version 2.6.20) and includes support for the VMware VMI interface, which provides a hypervisor-agnostic paravirtualization interface.

"Interoperability and open interfaces are a major focus for VMware," said Dan Chu, vice president of emerging products and markets at VMware. "VMware support for paravirtualization through the paravirt-ops interface demonstrates our commitment to working with open communities such as Linux and with other leading vendors to achieve open interoperability and optimizations for end users."

"Ubuntu 7.04 is the first Linux distribution to support paravirt-ops," said Jane Silber, director of operations at Canonical Ltd., the primary sponsor of Ubuntu. "VMware and the Ubuntu community have worked closely together to ensure that Linux customers can use a single operating system for both virtual and physical environments as well as receive optimal performance and an excellent out-of-box experience in both environments."

"IBM is excited to see the inclusion of the paravirt-ops paravirtualization interface in the next version of the Linux kernel," said Rich Lechner, vice president of IT optimization and system software at IBM. "This joint work is designed to make it easier for all virtualization vendors to work in a Linux environment. As part of this work, IBM and Canonical have also collaborated on the new Ubuntu virtual appliance featuring IBM DB2 Express-C for optimized deployment with supported VMware products."

VMware has contributed to numerous open technology efforts, including transparent paravirtualization with paravirt-ops as well as opening up the VMware Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) format for developers to use free of charge.

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