What (virtualization) game is Sun playing at?

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At this point it’s well known that Sun is about to enter the virtualization market with a massive offering: a hypervisor based on Xen (xVM Server), a management platform for physical and virtual machines (xVM Ops Center), a connection broker (Sun VDI) and even a hosted virtualization platform for desktops (VirtualBox).
On top of that it’s easy to guess that the company will release virtualization friendly servers and storage arrays.

As said many times before, Sun has a unique opportunity at the moment, being the only big company that can offer a complete computing stack for virtualization, from the hardware to the software, without bothering its customers with multi-vendor license and support agreements (and issues).

In such position one would think that Sun is focusing all its effort in integrating the components above in a well concerted offering, leaving few things to desire outside the company’s portfolio. But it’s not the case.

No matter if its hypervisor is due next month or so, no matter if there’s already a connection broker that could interconnect with it, Sun continues to enforce its relationship with VMware.

Last month the two announced that VMware Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM) will be sold by Sun with its Sun Ray thin clients.

It’s not hard to figure out where the Sun customers will look at when in need of new hypervisor, and it’s hard to believe that the company will be able to redirect their attention to xVM Server as soon as it’s out.

What surprises the most is that Sun continues to do business with VMware despite the hypervisor interoperability alliance with Microsoft.
Of course the latter doesn’t imply any kind of exclusive loyalty to the Redmond giant, but in practice behind such agreements there are remarkable financial interests, and Microsoft is probably not too happy to know that Sun is encouraging the adoption of ESX rather than Hyper-V.

We’ll see after the xVM family will be out if and how this strategy will be modified and what impact it caused so far.