Companies looking to squeeze more out of their IT infrastructure investments can now use Xen hypervisor, an open-source virtualization tool managed by startup XenSource Inc. and backed by some of IT's biggest vendors. Xen lets users carve servers running open-source operating systems into smaller, virtual servers.
Chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel are developing 64-bit processors that will use Xen hypervisor, while Linux providers Novell Inc. and Red Hat Inc. are working with XenSource to offer support for users consolidating server environments. Hewlett-Packard and IBM are contributing code to the Xen project and working with XenSource to develop new uses for the technology.
Xen, licensed under the GNU General Public License, works on servers running any open-source operating system, including Linux and NetBSD, with ports to FreeBSD and Plan 9 under development. When Intel and AMD deliver new processors that support virtual servers on the chip level, Xen will run on proprietary operating systems as well.