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IBM Promotes Open Approach To Virtualization

IBM unveiled Virtualization Engine 2.0 and pledged it will work to create a standard approach that uses Web services to integrate its virtualization products with other vendors'.
IBM rolled out an enhanced open approach Tuesday to virtualization as part of a concerted effort to jump-start adoption of these technologies in the enterprise.

To spur that effort, IBM unveiled Virtualization Engine 2.0 and pledged it would work to create a standard approach that uses Web services to integrate its virtualization products with offerings from other vendors.

Included in Virtualization Engine 2.0 is a new Resource Dependency Service that provides a portal view of all system resources in the enterprise, new tools for configuring and deploying virtual servers, and better integration with existing IBM systems management tools.

In general, virtualization technologies have seen relatively slow adoption across the entire enterprise infrastructure because of the massive social and technical changes they bring in terms of how systems are managed, said Rod Atkins, vice president of development for IBM's Systems and Technology Group. This is a market condition IBM hopes to alleviate by taking a more open-standards approach to its product lineup, Atkins said.

That effort, Atkins said, will include a move by IBM to work more closely with industry organizations such as the DMTF, OASIS, W3C and the Open Group to help promote adoption and proliferation of open interfaces around virtualization technologies.

As of yet, IBM has not lined up any specific endorsements for its open virtualization approach from other major vendors such as Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, EMC, Dell, Intel or Advanced Micro Devices. But the company did draw support from existing IBM partners such as Cisco Systems, Network Appliance and VMware, an independent unit of EMC.

Bill Zeitler, senior vice president and group executive for IBM's Systems and Technology Group, said an open-standards approach to virtualization will be pivotal in developing IBM's on-demand strategy and the next generation of computing in general.

"What's clear now after three years is that ‘on demand’ means a much deeper level of collaboration," Zeitler said. "The barriers to that kind of collaboration are now beginning to fall."

A deeper level of collaboration on the system level is needed to support the level of collaboration the industry has pushed on the application level thanks to the advent of standards such as Web services, said John Patrick, president of Attitude LLC, an independent consulting firm in Ridgefield, Conn.

"The end game is to lower the cost and complexity of managing all these systems," he said.

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