VMware opens up its virtualization software

Virtualization software vendor VMware Inc. is teaming up with a host of leading IT companies to work on open virtualization standards, the company announced Monday. As part of those efforts, VMware will provide its partners with access to its VMware ESX Server source code and interfaces under a program it’s calling VMware Community Source.

VMware’s partners include Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), BMC Software Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Novell Inc. and Red Hat Inc. The partners will be able to influence the future development of VMware’s ESX Server through a collaborative development model, according to a company release.

Under a royalty-free license, the VMware partners will be able to access the virtualization software server’s source code and they can contribute shared code or create binary modules to help with interoperability and integration. There will be an architecture board to help manage partners’ contributions and suggestions.

Focused on x86 server virtualization, VMware is an independent subsidiary of storage giant EMC Corp.

Last week, at EMC’s analyst day in New York, Diane Greene, VMware’s president and one of the company’s founders, said that she expects VMware to clear between $350 million and $400 million in revenue, with enterprise customer numbers reaching 20,000 this year. VMware is growing as fast as Oracle Corp. did in the 80s, and hit the $100 million revenue mark about as quickly, she said.

The company has “millions” of users at the desktop level and its software has the same code base for both its desktop and server products, meaning PC users can easily scale up to the server level, she added.

Last week, Greene talked about the need to further “proliferate the VMware platform” and to create a “virtualization ecosystem.” Today’s move fits right into that strategy.

As its first contribution to VMware Community Source, the company will make available its Virtual Machine Hypervisor Interfaces (VMHI) framework, according to the company. VMware defines hypervisors as a base component of virtual infrastructure which facilitate system partitioning.

The company hopes collaboration around VMHI will focus on the development of cross-platform operational and management frameworks, cooperative virtualization APIs (application programming interfaces) between hypervisors and operating systems, and virtual machine formats enabling virtual machine migration and recovery across platforms, according to the release.

VMware is providing more information about opening up VMHI at this web site and about joining VMware Community Source at this web site.

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