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OpenVZ ported to Sun Niagara servers

Linux can be subdivided into "containers" on Sun's newest Sparc servers, matching a feature Solaris already possesses.

OpenVZ, virtualization software that carves a single version of Linux into separate containers for different tasks, now is available for computers using Sun Microsystems' UltraSparc T1 processor.

SWsoft, which launched the open-source OpenVZ project and bases its proprietary Virtuozzo product on it, created the port in response to a request by Jonathan Kinney, a data systems specialist at Advantagecom Networks who supplied a server for the UltraSparc T1 "Niagara" work and who plans to use the software at his company. The software can be downloaded from the project Web site.

Linux is most widely used on servers using x86 processors such as Intel's Xeon and Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron, but it also runs on many other processors. Programmers translated OpenVZ to machines using IBM's Power processor family in October, and it already was available for those with Intel's Itanium processor.

Containers don't provide as much isolation between different partitions as virtual-machine technology such as Xen or VMware, which also can run different operating systems simultaneously. But containers impose a smaller tax on processing power and can easily be started and stopped.

The two major Linux sellers, Red Hat and Novell, are planning to include OpenVZ in their products. Red Hat also supports the integration of OpenVZ into the Linux kernel at the heart of the open-source operating system, a move that would spread the technology more widely.

Sun's Solaris version of Unix is most widely used on UltraSparc T1 machines. Solaris 10 already possesses an OpenVZ-like technology called Containers and is getting other options. Sun encourages use of Linux on the Niagara servers, however.