In October 2007 virtualization.info broke the news that the BIOS manufacturer Phoenix Technologies was working to enter the virtualization space with its own hypervisor.
The bare-metal virtual machine monitor (VMM), based on Xen and dubbed HyperCore, was officially confirmed one month later but it took more than one year to reach version 1.0.
The vision of Phoenix for that platform has been partially shared by a number of vendors that are offering their client hypervisors (or that are working to do so) at today.
The idea was to provide a very low footprint client hypervisor, centrally managed (Virtual Computer approach) and secured out-of-band (Neocleus and Citrix approach), that could serve personal and corporate virtual machines side by side (Citrix and VMware approach).
Despite remarkable partnerships (with SupportSoft, with NEC, with Asus) the product failed to impact the market in a significant way.
Its failure depended on many factors: in part because the adoption of the hypervisor required the adoption of new hardware with a new BIOS, in part because the first release took too much time to hit the market, in part because Phoenix Technologies hasn’t be able to consistently appear as a serious virtualization player.
So Phoenix eventually decided to refocus its business development effort elsewhere and dropped the project a couple of months ago, as reported by SeekingAlpha.
The HyperCore assets will be bought by HP, for $12M, as Phoenix itself announced.
The interesting question is why HP is interested in a Xen-based hypervisor.
In November 2009 virtualization.info highlighted how the HP R&D department was already working on a Xen-based hypervisor. And that work was exactly focused on the development of a secure desktop virtualization platform.
At this point the HP’s ambition to deliver its own VDI platform is hard to hide, and the acquisition of HyperCore intellectual property and engineers may further accelerate the go-to-market plans.
All considered, HP still has its connection broker, its remote desktop protocol and its thin clients to leverage. What if the company would release a new generation of thin clients and laptops sporting a client hypervisor out-of-the-box that supports VMware, Citrix and Microsoft hypervisors for online and offline VDI scenarios?