A conglomeration of IT's biggest players are to push open virtualisation protocols in a bid to standardise across the industry.

Led by virtualisation specialist VMWare, which will provide the others with access to its VMware ESX Server source code and interfaces, partners include AMD, BMC, CA, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Novell and Red Hat. The partners will be able to influence the future development of ESX Server through a collaborative development model.

Under a royalty-free licence, the VMware partners will be able to access the virtualisation software server's source code and contribute shared code or create binary modules to help with interoperability and integration. There will be an architecture board to help manage partners' contributions and suggestions.

Focused on x86 server virtualisation, VMware is an independent subsidiary of storage giant EMC. As its first contribution to VMware Community Source, the company will make available its Virtual Machine Hypervisor Interfaces (VMHI) framework.

The company hopes collaboration around VMHI will focus on the development of cross-platform operational and management frameworks, co-operative virtualisation APIs, and virtual machine formats for virtual machine migration and recovery across platforms.

VMware Community Source can be found at http://www.vmware.com/communitysource.