CentOS, the open source Linux-based operating system that recently came under the purview of Red Hat, has launched a new initiative aimed at helping vendors to deploy open source virtualization technologies on the CentOS system. And the Xen Project, whose members will chair the effort, is leading the charge, according to a recent announcement.

The goal of the open source virtualization initiative, officially known as the CentOS Virtualization Special Interest Group (SIG), is to help open source organizations of all stripes with an interest in CentOS (a Linux distribution that is essentially Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code recompiled by a third party) to deploy their products on the platform. Its first meeting was April 11.

On May 14, the Xen Project—a collaborative project hosted by the Linux Foundation to promote the open source Xen virtualization platform—announced it is helping to head the virtualization SIG, expanding on earlier collaboration between the Xen community and CentOS. According to a statement:

Xen Project members will coordinate and chair the Virt SIG. This builds on efforts started last year when Xen Project and CentOS developers began collaborating on the Xen4CentOS Project to enable users to easily migrate to CentOS 6.

The Xen Project's keenness in helping to lead the virtualization steering group at CentOS helps to ensure the continued relevance of the Xen hypervisor within the open source ecosystem as the Linux Foundation also aggressively promotes KVM—another open source hypervisor—through the Open Virtualization Alliance.

At the same time, collaboration with Xen creates new growth opportunities for CentOS, which is in a phase of rebirth since the Linux distribution officially "joined forces" with Red Hat (RHT) back in January. Perhaps prioritizing Xen over KVM will help set CentOS apart from the rest of the open source pack as it plans its future.