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Oracle buys Virtual Iron, bolsters virtualization management lineup

Oracle is continuing its spending spree with an agreement to buy Virtual Iron, an acquisition that will help Oracle enhance its Xen-based server virtualization software.

The combination of Oracle's VM hypervisor and Virtual Iron's technology will help customers optimize capacity utilization with more dynamic resource management; reduce server power consumption with automated power management tools; and provide deeper insight into server performance and utilization at every layer, according to Oracle.

Virtual Iron's server virtualization management platform will become part of the Oracle VM and Oracle Enterprise Manager product lines. The acquisition, announced Wednesday, is expected to close this summer. Financial details were not disclosed.

“The combined suite of products is expected to simplify the deployment and configuration of physical servers, virtual machines, and applications while providing a highly available platform for hosting Oracle software and other enterprise applications,” Oracle said.

The announcement comes less than a month after Oracle unveiled a deal to purchase Sun for $7.4 billion.

Compared with VMware, Citrix and Microsoft, Oracle is a small player in the server virtualization market, with its hypervisor and management tools sold largely to customers already using other Oracle products such as its flagship database.

Oracle said Virtual Iron will continue to operate as a separate company, but only until the purchase agreement is closed. “After the closing, Oracle will provide more information on product direction,” the company said.

Oracle did not seem to offer any assurances that it will continue supporting Virtual Iron products in an announcement letter and presentations related to the acquisition. “The goal of the combination is to complement Oracle offerings,” the company said. Oracle said Virtual Iron technology will continue to be enhanced, but as part of the Oracle VM and Enterprise Manager product lines.

“Oracle is currently reviewing the existing Virtual Iron product road map and will be providing guidance to customers in accordance with Oracle's standard product communication policies,” Oracle says in a slide deck discussing the acquisition. “Any resulting features and timing of release of such features as determined by Oracle's review of Virtual Iron product road map are at the sole discretion of Oracle.”

Both Virtual Iron and Oracle base their virtualization products on Linux and the Xen open source hypervisor, but the products are complementary, with Virtual Iron adding dynamic resource management and ease of use capabilities, Oracle says.

Oracle says it expects to keep Virtual Iron employees on to leverage their “deep domain expertise in operating systems and virtualization.”

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