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Virtual Iron VARs left in a lurch as Oracle shuts down product line

Oracle will suspend development of Virtual Iron products and stop taking new orders from after June 30, leaving some Oracle and Virtual Iron partners in a lurch.

Reports that Oracle will suspend development of Virtual Iron products and stop taking orders from new customers after June 30 surfaced last week, but some Oracle and Virtual Iron partners are still in the dark.

One Virtual Iron Software Inc. (VI) reseller out of Colorado got the news from SearchServerVirtualization.com Monday morning and had no idea any changes occurred. "This has really thrown me for a loop. As far as I knew, I was still a Virtual Iron reseller," he said.

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Later that day, he received a Fed Ex-delivered letter from VI and Oracle notifying him that as of June 30, all VI authorized reseller agreements will be terminated, and no new licensing agreements will be honored after that date.

The letter also stated that within the next few weeks he will receive information on becoming an Oracle partner; something he has resisted doing. "I'm not sure if I want to do that because we are a small shop, and becoming an Oracle partner requires jumping through a lot of hoops," he said.

The reseller only has a handful of customers using VI software but said his former employer supports many VI users. "This will cause me a bit of grief with my clients who are using it, especially since the letter [from Oracle and VI] doesn't answer any of my questions," he said. "I need to know what this means for people with upgrade plans and for people who needed to buy new licenses. What is the transition plan to go from VI to Oracle and what will the cost be? A lot of people used Virtual Iron because it is low cost, and they might not want to use Oracle VM."

In its letter to partners, Oracle reportedly said that when the Oracle VM-Virtual Iron integrated product is available, Virtual Iron customers will be able to move to the new, integrated product. Oracle has yet to offer a timetable for its availability though.

Another Oracle and Virtual Iron partner said on Monday afternoon that he still hadn't heard the official word about the changes, which are now less than one week away.

"I read the [news], but haven't heard anything from Virtual Iron and just logged into the partner portal and nothing seems to have changed," he said. "The last update I received … on June 16th was an upbeat announcement about the acquisition issued by Mary Henry, Virtual Iron's VP of finance, and Judson Althoff, group VP of worldwide alliances and channels at Oracle. That this would come jointly from a senior executive in their channel doesn't seem to square with [news] that the acquisition was a coup by the Oracle CTO."

The reseller said he was disappointed when he heard Oracle is already dissolving the Virtual Iron brand and products. "This is a pretty sad turn of events. [Virtual Iron] is a really good product and the people are very nice. Regardless of how it works out, this makes it awfully tough to offer any solutions based on what is really a very viable and competitive approach," he said.

The Colorado Virtual Iron reseller said that although he is disappointed, he is not shocked. "I guess it doesn't surprise me because of VI's small market share and because it has really good technology -- better than Citrix's virtualization, in my opinion. So it makes sense for Oracle to buy them and use that technology to strengthen their position with Oracle VM."

Oracle purchased VI just over one month ago and said from the get-go that it would use the small, Lowell, Mass.-based virtualization software company's management technologies for Oracle VM "to give its customers complete, full-stack management capabilities for virtual and physical systems."

"With Virtual Iron management features for Oracle VM, users will have better capacity utilization and virtual server configuration tools and improved visibility and control of enterprise software," Oracle stated on its website. VI's management features are Xen-based, like Oracle VM, and include features such as LivePower to measure and control server power consumption.

Oracle did not respond to a request for more details about the melding of Oracle VM and VI. Instead it emailed a link to Oracle's FAQ page.

This news comes just as Oracle nears completion of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, which also offers virtualization software. Sun recently backed-down on plans to offer its own hypervisor, Sun xVM Server.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer.

And check out our data center blogs: Server Farming, Mainframe Propellerhead and Data Center Facilities Pro

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