Mandriva Corporate Server 4.0 is to include OpenVZ, OS developer Mandriva - once known as MandrakeSoft - and it's the first time that operating system-level virtualisation software has been included as a part of the OS, according to Linux distributor Mandriva.

Compared to VMware and para-virtualisation technologies such as Xen, OpenVZ offers the least flexibility in the choice of operating system: both guest and host OSes must be Linux. So if you're in a hurry to pack multiple versions of Linux into a server, this could be the one to choose.

However, OpenVZ's proponents claim that OS-level virtualisation provides better performance, scalability, density, dynamic resource management, and ease of administration. According to the OpenVZ project, there's only a one to three per cent performance penalty for OpenVZ compared to standalone servers.

The way it works is that each VM - or VE in OpenVZ-speak - uses the same OS kernel although from the point of view of its owner each looks like a physical server and is separated by system level management software. OpenVZ is an open source project based on SWsoft's Virtuozzo, which remains proprietary software.

Mandriva's ISV manager Klara Mika said: "OpenVZ is also an excellent open source project. By making it available more widely and easily as part of Mandriva Linux, we hope to widen the user community and help improve the integration of virtualisation technologies into a standard Linux kernel."

"Embedding the OpenVZ technology directly into the Mandriva kernel will give Mandriva customers unparalleled virtualisation functionality," said Kir Kolyshkin, manager of the OpenVZ project. "We're very pleased to work with Mandriva and make our technology widely available via the popular Linux distribution."