Sun boots Solaris x86 on Xen

Sun Microsystems programmers have successfully booted more than one instance of the company's Solaris operating system on a server using the Xen virtualization software, which makes it possible to run multiple operating systems on the same computer. Sun engineer Tim Marsland said in his blog on Thursday that Sun accomplished the feat using Solaris on a server with dual Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Devices.

"We still emit loads of debugging noise," Marsland said, "but it all works pretty well."

Xen is most widely used with Linux, but it also works with the open-source NetBSD version of Unix, and founder Ian Pratt projects Windows will come as well--though Microsoft is working competing hypervisor software of its own.

Xen, by letting administrators run multiple or different operating systems on the same machine, makes it possible to use servers more efficiently. Companies such as Intel eventually envision such hypervisor software as useful for personal computers as well, for example as a way to keep work and personal tasks in separate compartments.

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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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