Interop News has a new piece on Xen, the open source hypervisor that was supposed to give VMware a run for its money.

If you recall, Xen was red hot stuff, with countless IT trade press articles, blog postings, and vendor white papers on it. In fact, as early as last January, influential blogger-journalist David Berlind predicted that: “XenSource will eventually overtake VMware in terms of market share…”

Well, it appears that in the article Desperately seeking Xen, author Jeff Gould is now having some second thoughts with regards to Xen, despite having written a few articles about Xen himself.

Apparently, despite both Novell and Red Hat shipping Xen in their commercial Linux distributions for some months now, things have grown “eerily quiet.” Product news is still coming forth, but there appears to be a very awkward silence from actual end-user organizations.

A search for references from prominent customers are spartan, bordering on non-existence. It might appear that people are simply not using Xen at all.

An eWeek review of RHEL5, the first Red Hat version to incorporate Xen, might yield the explanation for the current situation.

The reviewer says:

“… companies in search of an out-of-the-box server virtualization solution should not expect it here…”

“Compared with VMware’s VI3,… More troubleshooting than we would have liked.”

Jeff Gould ends off on a somber note:

“Today it’s apparent that however Xen evolves in the future, it isn’t going to be the Longhorn killer Red Hat thought it would be.”

So, what do you think. Is the virtualization race down to a clash of the closed-sourced giants, Microsoft and VMware? Or is there hope yet for Xen? Join the discussion.