XenSource goes on partner hunt

Open source virtualisation vendor, XenSource, is looking for partners to kick-start sales of its first software product with Windows support.

The company has announced its XenEnterprise solution would offer full Windows 2003, XP and Longhorn server support. Previously, it was restricted to Linux and NetBSD platforms. The push on Windows compatibility follows an agreement between XenSource and Microsoft earlier this year to ensure interoperability between their products.

XenEnterprise for Windows features Xen and guest operating system installers, tools to migrate physical systems into virtual machines and a wide range of management capabilities. The updated product starts shipping this quarter. It is distributed in Australia by Express Data.

During a recent visit to Australia to meet with local channel, XenSource vice-president of worldwide sales, John Glendenning, said the revamped XenEnterprise gave resellers a viable alternative to VMware's virtualisation solutions.

"Linux has not traditionally been a significant channel play," he said. "In order to deliver XenEnterprise through the channel, we needed a Windows-based solution.

"Many partners today carrying first generation virtualisation products have not had a choice. XenEnterprise is a chargeable product with a focus on Windows."

Glendenning said XenEnterprise offered about 80 per cent of the functionality of VMware, but at one-fifth of the cost.

He claimed there was massive growth potential for virtualisation in the SMB and mid-market.

Glendenning pointed to recent global statistics from TWP Research, which found only six per cent of x86 servers in use run virtualisation technology.

To help establish a foothold in Australia, XenSource was looking to sign up about 10 initial partners. Resellers are required to send at least one engineer to remote training, as well as a one-day certification session. Both courses are free.

"We want to ensure our channel partners deliver first and second level support," Glendenning said.

Services which channel partners could offer included capacity planning, consulting services around product processes, identifying targeted applications and infrastructure capabilities, he said.

"Virtualisation fits well in a managed services play," Glendenning said.

Alongside channel recruitment, XenSource is looking to foster stronger partnerships with global ISVs and will launch an official ISV program this week. While there are no local developers on-board currently, Glendenning was keen to hear from those who could offer value-added applications for all markets.

"We are learning ourselves and asking partners where they can take the solution," he said.