VMware’s open source rival gets marquee backing

Quoting from Linux Business Week:

Kleiner Perkins and Sevin Rosen, two star-studded VCs, have put $6 million in Series A money in Palo Alto, California-based XenSource, the outfit started by the founders of the open source Xen hypervisor virtualization software to commercialize the stuff.

Xen is available free under the GPL.

XenSource is hoping to make money by selling support and subscription services to Xen users.

XenSource CEO Nick Gault said the funding would go towards building support and service capabilities, hiring more people, ramping up sales and marketing and developing better packaging for Xen by way of an installer and some management tools.

Gault expects to expand the company’s staff from its current eight people to 30-35 by the end of the year.

According to Gault, Xen has 100 users using it in a production environment.

Gault said XenSource would work with its partners Red Hat and Novell to promote Xen and implied the two Linux distributions would offer Xen soon.

Xen is designed to consolidate servers by letting multiple operating systems and applications run on the same server.

It runs on x86 architecture and currently support Linux 2.4 and 2.6, NetBSD, FreeBSD and Plan 9.

However, Xen does not support Windows yet although Gault expects to be able to by the middle of this year.

Gault acknowledged that Xen didn’t expect to have a Windows port anytime soon because of licensing issues. He credited Intel’s assistance in the form of contributing 20-40 man-years of source code and putting anticipated virtualization support in its hardware for Xen’s decision to move up Windows support.

Xen’s main rival is VMware, now an EMC subsidiary.

Besides Gault, XenSource founders include Xen project leaders Ian Pratt of Cambridge University and openMosix leader Moshe Bar. Pratt is Xen’s chief architect and Bar is XenSource’s CTO.

Gault reckons XenSource will be profitable by the end of ’06.

As said other times I don’t think XEN can be considered a VMware competitor. Not till it will be able to virtualize Windows operating systems and we’ll see if this become a reality for 2Q 2005…