Xen Cloud Platform and VMware vCloud Express to be launched at VMworld

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Earlier this week Amazon announced its Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) offering, a segmented version of its Xen-based Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) that is accessible only through a VPN connection.

There were at least a couple of reasons to launch VPC right now: sure, it is the 3rd anniversary of EC2, but most of all it’s the week before VMworld, the VMware conference that this year is going to have a major focus on cloud computing.

Both Xen.org and VMware will in fact launch two new initiatives called Xen Cloud Platform (XCP) and VMware vCloud Express.

XCP will be a set of tools, of course distributed as open source, to extend the capability of the hypervisor as a cloud computing platform. And it will be supported by all the members of the Xen.org advisory board members, including Citrix, HP, Intel, Novell and Oracle.

So the Xen Cloud Platform will merge together new and existing pieces of software in a single package even if it’s not clear at the moment what will be part of the platform exactly.

For sure XCP will include support for the DMFT existing and upcoming standards: the OVF  to load virtual machines from any 3rd party hypervisor (Citrix, VMware, Microsoft, etc.) and to migrate them across federated clouds, and the upcoming VMAN interface.
The VMAN support alone won’t be enough to grant a seamless migration from a private virtual data center to a public or private XCP cloud, so it’s very likely that the platform will support some virtual machines live migration capabilities.

XCP will also integrate the just surfaced Open vSwitch, an open source virtual switch which offers features similar to the ones provided by the Cisco Nexus 1000V in VMware vSphere 4.0.

XCP will also feature some advanced storage capabilities that support multi-tenant cloud services, and this mean mean that Citrix will contribute the project by releasing a part of its StorageLink technology as open source.

The presence of standardized interfaces and open components means that any commercial offering could be able to interoperate, extend or manage the Xen Cloud Platform in a not-too-distant future.
And this includes existing clouds like Amazon EC2 or RackSpace Cloud Servers (formerly Mosso) as well as the products offered by any vendor, including VMware.

Of course it’s entirely expected that Citrix will launch a version of its Essential for XCP but we already know for sure that the Xen Cloud Platform will support open source management solutions like Eucalyptus (adopted at NASA) and OpenNebula.

The existence of VMware vCloud Express, was revealed by Forbes just two days ago.
Forbes describes it as a “an easy way to get up and running with vCloud service”, but the moment there are no other news about it.
VMware is expected to formally announce the product early next week.