Is Oracle acquiring Virtual Iron?

oracle logo

In the last two years Virtual Iron has been frequently mentioned as an acquisition target in rumors about Novell, Symantec and other big IT vendors.
The last one comes from Jeffried & Co. analyst Catherine Egbert who suggested that Virtual Iron is being acquired by Oracle.

The rumor was picked up by several news sites, including LocalTechWire, ITBusinessEdge and The Register. reached out both companies but, as expected, Oracle answered that the company doesn’t comment on press stories while Virtual Iron didn’t answer at all.

Does Oracle need Virtual Iron? If we listen to Larry Ellison the answer is no.
But it’s not because Oracle is not interested in becoming a global virtualization player. Quite the opposite.

The Oracle CEO once said that his cat could write the VMware hypervisor and to prove it in November 2007 his company released its own virtualization platform: Oracle VM.

Maybe Ellison overlooked the challenges that come when you want to develop and sell a mission-critical virtual machine monitor (VMM) because so far Oracle VM failed to gain any relevant market share.
The Oracle hypervisor comes free since day one and it’s based on Xen, but it didn’t turn all the heads that Citrix is turning with its upcoming free XenServer.
One of the reasons behind this lack of interest is that Oracle, exactly like Citrix, is not recognized as a virtualization vendor and has to develop a huge marketing action to change this perception.

Another reason why Oracle may be changing its plans to go solo and look for the acquisition of Virtual Iron is to not lose control on the development of Xen.
After Citrix acquired XenSource, some key contributors of the open source hypervisor went away: one of them is IBM, another is Red Hat which will extensively adopt KVM in H2 2009.
The major contributors that are still developing Xen may either jump on the KVM bandwagon or ally with Citrix, influencing the features and roadmap of the hypervisor to slow down Oracle.

So it’s possible that Oracle needs a virtualization vendor more than what originally expected.
For sure Virtual Iron has the knowledge, the technology and the brand to make Oracle VM more relevant in the virtualization space and influence the Xen roadmap in a useful way.