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Microsoft Unveils Virtualization Strategy 141

Posted by kdawson
from the getting-all-hyper dept.
billstewart writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft will be announcing a virtualization strategy on Tuesday. Of course there's plenty of focus on the competition with VMware, including the obligatory reference to Microsoft's entry into the browser wars prior to cutting off Netscape's air supply. The pieces of the picture will include: an alliance with Citrix Systems, owners of XenSource; acquisition of privately held Calista Technologies of San Jose, which has software that speeds up the performance of applications running in a virtualized environment; and lower price for Windows Vista used on virtualized computers. Microsoft also reversed its earlier position and will now allow the Home Basic and Home Premium versions of Vista to run under virtualization. The company confirmed its plans to deliver its Hyper-V hypervisor within six months of the launch of Windows Server 2008 (betas available now), which is expected this quarter."
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Microsoft Unveils Virtualization Strategy

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  • http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=0FE4E411-8C88-48C2-8903-3FD9CBB10D05 [microsoft.com] - wtf? and I thought I had trouble managing URLs at times. Those guys have gotta be sharp. :P
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Wiseman1024 (993899)
      Microsoft loves GUIDs. They look so enterprisey and scream of "stop looking, keep consuming".
      • by kestasjk (933987)
        You're right! That GUID makes me want to stop looking and keep consuming! Thanks for pointing that out to me
  • now with N times more vulnerability per physical machine!

    ...and real brine shrimp (sorry, I couldn't resist)!
    • by DrYak (748999)
      Cheap price for virtualised Vista ?
      "Home Basic" and "Home premium" version authorised to run on virtual machines ?

      XKCD [xkcd.com] now has all needed ingredients for his aquarium !

      (to be soon followed IRL, just like the ball pit... )

  • Scary? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ilovegeorgebush (923173) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:42AM (#22135810) Homepage
    Well, I think there's something to worry about here. Bearing in mind Virtualization is the Next Big Thing ® right now, and businesses being quick on the up-take (I know my employer is a big fan, and we have ~5k employees and several large in-house development departments), I think it's going to be a bonus for a company to take a Virtualization offering from their primary OS supplier. Especially when you've got it in live deployments.

    Is there room in the market for MS? Or will they squeeze VMWare out? We'll soon find out...
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by stevie.f (1106777)
      It's always scary when Microsoft go for the Next Big Thing.

      Somehow their first attempts always seem so much worse than anyone elses first attempt. I imagine this endeavour will be no more successful than vista
      • Re:Scary? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gbjbaanb (229885) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:03AM (#22135930)
        Usually Microsft's first attempt *is* someone else's first attempt. Their roduct development roadmap is a case of "that's cool, we must have some of that, buy that company".

        Who did they buy to get Virtual PC in the first place? I'd be very surprised to hear that they developed it entirely in-house.

        This endeavour will be somewhat successful - VPC is out there at the moment, and its free since roughly the same time VMWare offered VMWare server for free (go figure :) ). If this hypervisor is not free too, then it'll have a hard time being adopted by companies that are used to, and happy with, VMWare.

        If they do give their hypervisor away for free, then VMware will release ESX too and nothing will really change! I think this can only be a good thing for us :-)
        • Re:Scary? (Score:5, Informative)

          by atezun (755568) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:09AM (#22135962)
          Since you asked, Microsoft obtained VirtualPC when they bought out Connectix.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by gbjbaanb (229885)
            cheers for that. I was beginning to get worried as I typed that message... perhaps Microsoft had actually produced some original software. Normal service is now resumed and I can get back to my knocked off from Java development.
          • VirtualBox. It's friendlier, easier, and damned convenient. I didn't give a RAT'S ASS about the two particular no-virtualization allowed for Basic and Home Premium. And, why SHOULD I or anyone have. It's an onerous, specious, vicious, odious clause. The lawyers and execs who inserted it should be flogged.
        • Re:Scary? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by kripkenstein (913150) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @08:13AM (#22136492) Homepage

          If they [Microsoft] do give their hypervisor away for free, then VMware will release ESX too and nothing will really change! I think this can only be a good thing for us :-)
          Unless after a few years of giving away their products for free, VMware goes bankrupt. Microsoft, on the other hand, remains extremely wealthy due to Windows and Office revenue, and then proceeds to charge money for Microsoft virtualization products. This is a good thing only for Microsoft, and they've done it before.
          • No need to fear... VirtualBox and Xen have already gone open-source, so regardless of their profit status, their code will continue to benefit the world. I'm a fan of VMware and hope they do well, but they may need a similar model to Xen and VirtualBox to have real staying power.
          • by Ancil (622971)

            Microsoft remains extremely wealthy... and the proceeds to charge money for Microsoft virtualization products. They've done it before.

            Umm, right.

            You mean like they charge money for Internet Explorer now (Netscape)? And Media Player (Real)? And the .NET Framework (Java)? And Silverlight (Flash)?

            Oh, wait.. All those competitors are in various stages of demise but the Microsoft products are still free.
            • Microsoft remains extremely wealthy... and the proceeds to charge money for Microsoft virtualization products. They've done it before.

              Umm, right.

              You mean like they charge money for Internet Explorer now (Netscape)? And Media Player (Real)? And the .NET Framework (Java)? And Silverlight (Flash)?

              Is Microsoft charging for IE? Well, what if tomorrow they said that Windows was $5 cheaper - a 'present to the world'. Then the day after, they said, we are charging $5 for IE per copy of Windows. How would that final stage be any different than where we are today?

              Developing IE costs money. Microsoft passes that cost on to consumers. For further evidence, consider the rising price of Windows, and by that I mean, look at the price range for the various versions of Vista. How many people really pay for th

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by stevie.f (1106777)
        Flamebait? I thought it was a relevant point. Almost every Microsoft product feels as if it has been released just a little too early and isn't as 'finished' as most other companies products. It takes a while for it to get to the point where I feel it is a product I could be using and I don't see why this instance should be any different
        • by dp3n3tr8 (966761)
          Almost every (any company name here) product feels as if it has been released just a little too early and isn't as 'finished' as most other companies products. Fixed that for you
    • Re:Scary? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:07AM (#22135954)

      Is there room in the market for MS? Or will they squeeze VMWare out? We'll soon find out...

      HaHaHa!

      This is Microsoft we're talking about here - there is no room in the marketplace!

      On a serious note - virtualisation plays a major part in computing today, if Microsoft's os is going to be virtualised it will be done on thier terms and of course deeply integrated.

      If they want to do this that's fine... . . However, typically Microsoft's business practise is to try and 'remove' any competitive products from the marketplace - vmware had better be sharp because thier life is about to get more difficult.

      When an emerging market is noticed by Microsoft they seem to wait and see how it develops. If it appears to be profitable they wade in with thier own version and take it all even if thier own product is inferior - they can use thier OS as leverage (which has happend time and time again).

      Again, it's Microsoft's monopoly status that allows them to do this and I have a problem with that.

      If vmware are forced out the market at least there are open-source alternatives available which fortunately cannot be forced out the market (unless patent issues are raised?).
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by stevey (64018)

        On a serious note - virtualisation plays a major part in computing today, if Microsoft's os is going to be virtualised it will be done on thier terms and of course deeply integrated.

        Agreed.

        One of the benefits of virtualised Linux is that you can run minimal VMs for different purposes. Right now I have a desktop running about 8 Xen instances of Debian, in a mixture of Stable, Testing, and Unstable.

        If you imagine running Microsoft Windows for testing you'd be interested in running XP, Vista, and Server

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Virtualized OS is only the first baby step. Virtualization becomes very cool when you see it done at the application layer. Read up on MS Application Virtualization which is a pretty bad ass application. It is essentially an AD integrated method of application deployment to the client without requiring installation. Think about running every version of Excel ever made simultaneously in its own virtual space. I have seen quite a few demos of this, and at the desktop architecture level, this is where vir
        • by billcopc (196330)
          You mean, like, Citrix Metaframe ? That crap we've been using for a decade ?

          Yeah.

          It's nothing special, it's just an inverted model of desktop management. If, instead, we had a more respectable method for controlling client machines, this kind of remote app filth would be completely unnecessary.
        • by ssstraub (581289)
          Except MS App Virtualization requires a heavy infrastructure to be in place and agents must be preinstalled everywhere you want to run the virtualized software.

          Thinstall on the other hand requires no heavy infrastruture nor client-side agents. And they happen to have just been purchased by VMWare.
      • by jagripino (314506)
        "When an emerging market is noticed by Microsoft they seem to wait and see how it develops. If it appears to be profitable they wade in with thier own version and take it all even if thier own product is inferior - they can use thier OS as leverage (which has happend time and time again). "

        Right, because that is just what Microsoft did to Oracle on the database market, huh?
    • by Psiren (6145) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:07AM (#22135956)
      Microsoft will do what they always do, bring out something that is good enough for 95% of people, 95% of the time. They'll leave the finer points to third parties. It'll be good enough for most places running Windows only networks.

      There appear to be several virtualisation platforms appearing on the Linux side. I haven't used Xen myself, as when we were moving to virtualisation it didn't have the capabilities or support that VMWare did.

      Unless VMware gets its act together it's going to lose market share pretty quickly. The documentation is awful. Just. Fucking. Awful. There's tons of it to be sure, but it's contradictory, badly written, confusing and downright wrong in places.

      Ultimately I think Microsoft's hypervisor will become the default for Windows, and one of the others for Linux. VMware will become a niche product.
      • by NotZed (19455)
        Well, it'll look like it's good enough for 90% of the people 90% of the time - when infact it wont quite meet those expecations - after everyone's spent too much time on it to back out.

        And then they'll illegally bundle it with one of their 'server' os's, and effectively kill the market instantly.
        • Does their server OS actually have a monopoly? I didn't think it did. And if it doesn't, then bundling would not be illegal.
      • "The [VMWare] documentation is awful. Just.... Awful. There's tons of it to be sure, but it's contradictory, badly written, confusing and downright wrong in places."

        I haven't looked at them for a year, but in the past the VMWare Virtual Appliances [vmware.com] were more likely to hurt VMWare's reputation than help it, in my opinion.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        For now, VMWare has absolutely nothing to worry about. From hardcore linux users to the most Kool-aid drinking Microsoft users I know, everyone of them universally thinks VirtualPC is a flaming piece of shit. Microsoft has a long way to go to beat them. Also, VMWare's real strength is ESX in the linux space. Microsoft won't give a shit about running linux... they'll care about how it runs Windows, and make a token pitiful effort at getting it running linux.

        I think VMWare will be fine so long as they keep th
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drsmithy (35869)

        Unless VMware gets its act together it's going to lose market share pretty quickly. The documentation is awful. Just. Fucking. Awful. There's tons of it to be sure, but it's contradictory, badly written, confusing and downright wrong in places.

        Maybe so, but it's streets ahead of the documentation of the Linux-based offerings (to say nothing of the UI and management tools). VMWare have a long, long way to fall before any of the current alternatives knock them off (through either fair means _or_ foul).

        • by Psiren (6145)
          You're probably right. But that most definitely won't be the case with Microsoft's documentation. Windows is a reasonably large market for VMWare, even though they seem to be doing a pretty poor job of supporting it properly.
      • by raind (174356)
        We're running Vmware in a small deployment, I seems nice however it's sluggish, perhaps because of the 3rd rate hardware. I think it's not ready for prime time here.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by flyingfsck (986395)
        Huh? What do you need documentation for Vmware for? I've been using it for years and never used the docs.
        • by Psiren (6145)

          Huh? What do you need documentation for Vmware for? I've been using it for years and never used the docs.
          I'm talking about VMWare ESX Server. I hope to hell you're not, because if you've installed it and are running it without having read any documentation, you're in for a world of hurt one day.
    • by superash (1045796)
      Is there room in the market for MS? Or will they squeeze VMWare out?

      VirtualPC and VMWare are both competitive tools for the job. In fact, they're both so refined that your ultimate purchase decision will be affected more by your own needs than by any inherent problems with the programs. VirtualPC keeps things simple and if you need more control than Virtual PC offers, you should get VMware.
    • Virtualization
      Sweeps the nation
      But can it cure
      Follicle frustraion?
      Burma Shave
    • There are a couple of area's where microsoft might have an advantage in future vm releases.

      1 has to be better graphics drivers
      2 networking improvements, it is very hard to make a vm a peer in a network especially so with wireless cards.
      3 support for Pci cards within the host.
      4 networked printers.

      Having an existing working relationship with hardware manufacturers should ease development issues.

      Negatives
      running a windows host.

      I'd love to see apple competing here too, but virtual macs on pc hardware isn't some
  • What worries me. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcello_dl (667940) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:46AM (#22135828) Homepage Journal
    If I were a prospective client, I would think about the effective way IE killed the then king netscape, sure.

    I would also think about the way IE turned into an awfully modularized insecure POS after winning.

    Let's just hope Xen makers don't play the part of NCSA Mosaic.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Migala77 (1179151)

      I would also think about the way IE turned into an awfully modularized insecure POS after winning.
      I disagree. IE just didn't improve much after winning. It always was a POS. Just as netscape was. Neither product was very standards-compliant, mostly because the standards were also POSs (PsOS?) at the time. The decision to rewrite Netscape wasn't taken because it was a perfect product. Luckily we now have better, more standards-compliant alternatives.
    • I would also think about the way IE turned into an awfully modularized insecure POS after winning.


      It turned into a piece of shit? I'm pretty sure it was one of the Microsoft-types who showcased IE7 said that it started out as a piece of shit. Of course, he was claiming it had improved, particularly with 7, but we all know the truth of that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:58AM (#22135904)
    ... the solution to Vista is to use it to run Ubuntu inside VMWare...?
    • Other way around ... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      the solution to Vista is to use it to run Ubuntu inside VMWare

      The true solution is the other way around. Use Ubuntu with KVM http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernel-based_Virtual_Machine [wikipedia.org] to run a virtualised copy of Vista.

      FTA:

      The pieces of the picture will include: ... and lower price for Windows Vista used on virtualized computers.

      You get to run Linux as your main (secure, stable, malware-free) OS, and you get a cheaper Vista, which you might need to run the odd Windows-only application.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        No, MS wouldn't say that as win2k runs better under VT than Vista or XP and there's none of the activation bullshit either.
  • by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @05:59AM (#22135914)
    I hope that even with the Hyper-V stuff that is based in Windows Server 2008, that MS keeps VirtualPC updated. For what it does, its excellent as a quick and dirty hypervisor, especially for stuff like Thinstall where you just need to open a VM briefly to do a check before installing, install a program, run the afterwards delta, then build the Thinstalled output. No special client or Web server needed (as opposed to the latest VMWare 2.0 beta which seemed to require a full Java, Apache and Tomcat install and available to the world to even turn on.)

    The Hyper-V implementation in the RC1 build of Windows Server 2008 requires your CPU have specific hardware virtualization built in, so you can't really use it on anything less than midrange+ hardware. Maybe its a good thing, as MS is likely intending this for machines designed for being VM servers from the ground up.
  • by scsirob (246572) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:29AM (#22136070)
    Why would you want to run a consumer desktop operating system in a virtual environent? How will that help you being more efficient? Microsoft can't be seriously promoting the use of their desktop OS for server tasks, are they??
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Wiseman1024 (993899)
      One of the uses of virtualization is testing. Probably Microsoft is tired of seeing how everything is broken in their newest DRM OS, so they want to make it easier for developers to try. (Personally, if I were offered such a possibility, I'd work hard to make sure it doesn't run on Vista.)

      Think of it as a petri dish. You can try your software under Vista in the same way as you can try whether some organism can coexist with AIDS or not.
      • Lol, flamebait? Was Slashdot taken by Microsoft fanboys while I was not looking? The next thing I'll see is somebody praising DRM for allowing you to enjoy your music.
      • The author makes some good points. I'm not saying that it isn't flamebait, but it deserves to be +3 Flamebait, not +0 Flamebait :-)
    • Why would you want to run a consumer desktop operating system in a virtual environent? How will that help you being more efficient? Microsoft can't be seriously promoting the use of their desktop OS for server tasks, are they??

      I'm running Ubuntu (AMD-64) on two home and three business machines. Each has XP virtualized (512MB memory, 8GB image) for the few apps that couldn't pass muster with Wine (or Crossover). Acrobat 7.0, for example. All XP instances are full retail licenses, perfectly legal via an MS
    • by dlur (518696)

      There are perfectly good reasons for running virtualized desktop OSes on server hardware. In fact, VMware is already doing this and marketing this as the next big thing in virtualization, called VDI or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: http://www.vmware.com/solutions/desktop/vdi.html [vmware.com]

      Basically you take an ESX server that would normally host 2-15 server OS instances and pile it on with 40-50 Windows XP or Windows Vista virtual instances. You fire them all up and let the end users remote desktop into THEIR

  • by mccalli (323026) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @06:41AM (#22136112) Homepage
    Whether you go for their whole strategy or not, a good thing to come out of their announcement is them allowing non-Ultimate Vista to be virtualisable (or non-Business, or whichever of the twenty levels they arbitrarily set it at the last time).

    I'm on OS X and run a VMware image of XP for a couple of apps. I have no need for Vista, but should a need arise I can now upgrade to the lower versions and carry on running. MS gets some money from me it previously wouldn't have had and I can still use my platform of choice.

    That's good news for people.

    Cheers,
    Ian
    • I have no need for Vista, but should a need arise I can now upgrade to the lower versions and carry on running. MS gets some money from me it previously wouldn't have had
      Great, you've told them exactly what they wanted to hear.

      Why not "Microsoft won't get money from me until they move to my side and get rid of DRM"? Or, "Microsoft won't get paid for such a crappy OS"?
    • by Vexorian (959249)
      Really? Just like people are being unable to find reasons to migrate their PCs to vista I can't think of a good reason to migrate my virtual box machine to vista, after all I use it for app and hardware compat and Vista doesn't sound too great at that, and XP uses less resources anyways.
  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @07:00AM (#22136200)
    I know that slashdot eds are supposed to be the some of the worst ever, but MS is in the running... One of the suppported OS's for the Hyper v is.... Microsoft Office 97 or later version

    The below is taken from the MS website.

    "System Requirements

            * Supported Operating Systems: Windows Vista; Windows XP

    Microsoft Office 97 or later version"

  • Conflict of interest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lnxpilot (453564) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @07:08AM (#22136232)
    And who in their right mind will get virtualization software from Microsoft?

    One of the main reasons for virtualization to is to run other, competing OSs (mostly Linux) on the same hardware.

    You can bet M$ would do everything to make Linux look bad: "see, same hardware, XP / Vista runs better".

    It's like putting Ford in charge of building roads and gas stations.
    How long do you think before Toyotas, Hondas etc. will develop "unexpected" engine problems from the gasoline served there?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That's rubbish.

      In the corporate world the main use of virtualisation is to run lots of the same OS on one piece of hardware.

      In this sense, choosing MS as the virtualisation provider for the MS operating system is a win-win.
      • by TeknoHog (164938)

        In this sense, choosing MS as the virtualisation provider for the MS operating system is a win-win.

        Of course MS-MS is a win-win, becauce 'win' is often associated with Windows. However, that in turn brings to mind 'loss' (of productivity, security, performance, etc.), so 'win-win' is not necessarily a good thing. I prefer saying 'lin-lin' when describing a mutually beneficial outcome.

  • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @07:38AM (#22136336) Journal
    should be to run a virtualized Ballmer so that they can shut him down whenever he puts both of his dancing shoes in his mouth during interviews.

    Interviewer: "Mr Ballmer, how cool is the Brown Zune?"

    Ballmer: "It's an iPod killer. I squirt to you, you squirt to me and then..."

    [Ballmer disappears suddenly]

    Interviewer: "Wha... What happened?"

    Voice From Above: "Do Not Worry. The Virtual Ballmer Has Been Shut Down. Your Interview Has Not Been Affected."

  • Microsoft is completely missing that what its enterprise customers *really* want is a Type-1 hypervisor (akin to Hyper-V) for desktops and laptops. It would radically simplify deployments; rather than having to maintain an RIS/WDS server with different images for different hardware configurations, a company could just have one software image for all the boxes and let the hypervisor worry about the hardware.

    From a device security perspective, this could be useful too, as the hypervisor could be tuned to onl
  • Does this mean that xen will become subtly but increasingly unstable on the linux platform?

    Does this mean that Microsoft is going to launch a virtualization patent army (of lawyers), forcing vmware to devote most of its resources to legal matters?
  • by HaloMan (314646) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @08:55AM (#22136662) Homepage
    No, seriously. VMWare having some decent competition isn't going to do any harm - and VMWare will still dominate the Linux market which is not insignificant - and everyone legally allowed to virtualise any version of Vista is great news for everybody including VMWare, if belated.

    Microsoft wanting a piece of the market could easily result in great products being created. Look at the recent versions of IIS that have been a vast improvement thanks to the old versions being crappy compared to Apache. Even MS realise that people who are interested in this sort of thing aren't after any old shit.
  • Now for sale: (Score:1, Insightful)

    by G-News.ch (793321)
    - Windows Vista Virtual Machine edition - Windows Vista VM edition plus - Windows Vista VM edition ultimate - Windows Vista VM home edition - Windows Vista VM edition OEM and of course the always popular - Windows vista VM edition ultra & Solitaire Pro Edition 2008 ultra Pricing yet to be decided.
  • since its under GPL, is it possible for someone to just FORK XEN now and not even worry about it ... or is there no point since it is GPL and open source ... but is it possible for microsoft to change license later down the line screwing everyone into paying ?!? Microsoft cant be trusted, thats a fact. why doesn't someone just fork it now steal all the true open source developers and move on .. something with such great potential (Enterprise wise) shouldn't be trusted within a corporation noways. it sho
  • I don't think MS is in the same position they were twelve years ago. Microsoft Live still has yet to compete with Google (even in mindshare). I think people are starting to believe (thanks to various communities like Open Source) that MS needs to actually put up or shut up. I think gone are the days of 'announcing' a competitive product and delivering one (and increasingly, a better one).
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @09:37AM (#22136902) Homepage
    VMWare will automatically move virtual servers off of failing hardware; you need your servers to be clustered to get similar functionality from Microsoft.

    Until Microsoft's virtualization offering has the hardware independence that VMWare has, many businesses will (correctly) consider it a weak product.
  • what alternatives are there (cause nobody prolly reads the subject)

    other then vmware

    and kvm

    XEN scales very nice and has alot of front ends which are web based what would challenger..ed.ed...ed it in the open source market ?
  • Different philosophy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Natales (182136) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @10:11AM (#22137220)
    What I find missing in all the comments so far is the completely different approach to virtualization that VMware has when compared to MS and Xen. The in MS/Xen model, the hypervisor is flat out part of the OS, and the VMs rely on some sort of Dom0 or master partition where most of the real drivers exist.

    In the VMware model (think ESX 3i [vmware.com]), the hypervisor is a completely different layer that sits under the OS, so there is no direct OS dependency. All the drivers are specially designed and engineered to be high performance for that kind of environment, a reason why it scales so much better (at least when compared to Xen) and also a reason why they don't support all the devices out there.

    I think for most of us that care about freedom of choice, the VMware model makes more sense going forward. A good, OS independent, thin hypervisor with standard open interfaces (VMI [vmware.com]) for any guest OS kernel that wants to leverage paravirtualization, or just a full hardware abstraction via the VMM for the ones that do not, coupled with good, open source set of instrumentation tools and accelerated drivers [sourceforge.net].

    On top of that, VMware has open sourced their virtual disk format (VMDK [vmware.com]), has collaborated with Xen on a completely open VM portable packaging format (OVF [vmware.com]), and has a number of fully open source programs [vmware.com]. This is allowing the developing of the Virtual Appliance concept and has facilitated the penetration of Linux in places that wouldn't have otherwise.

    Now, because I work for VMware (use as disclaimer also), I can tell you that the bread and butter for us is NOT the hypervisor, but all the stack we built on top of it, that includes disaster recovery, lab automation, VM lifecycle and a bunch of other very very high level stuff.

    Still, competition is good for the market, open source or not, and as users, we'll all benefit.
    • by rabtech (223758)
      [quote]In the VMware model (think ESX 3i), the hypervisor is a completely different layer that sits under the OS, so there is no direct OS dependency. All the drivers are specially designed and engineered to be high performance for that kind of environment, a reason why it scales so much better (at least when compared to Xen) and also a reason why they don't support all the devices out there.[/quote]

      Which is simultaneously a great strength and great weakness. Why will people end up using the Microsoft stack
      • by RelliK (4466)

        Which is simultaneously a great strength and great weakness. Why will people end up using the Microsoft stack to host Linux VMs? Because everything has a windows driver.
        Does microsoft hypervisor even support non-microsoft OSes? I seem to recall that they specifically disabled that functionality when they bought VPC from Conntectix.
        • by rilex (1225568)
          Microsoft's Type 1 Hypervisor, Hyper-V, currently can run Linux x86/x64 ("offically" there are ICs for RedHat and SuSe, but my guess is you could run other distros). VPC and Virtual Server (Type 2) can run a myrid of other OSes, including DOS, OS/2, Solaris...etc. A list for VPC is here: http://vpc.visualwin.com/ [visualwin.com]. Microsoft and VMWare don't "support" any of these 3rd party OSes (or EOL OSes, such as DOS). In fact, VMWare can't support _any_ OS, only the injected drivers they produce.
    • by RelliK (4466)
      Natales,

      There is no doubt that right now you have a much better product. However, Microsoft can afford to give away their product for free [or rather, subsidize it with their monopoly profits from other software]. You can't. And ultimately, they don't need to build a better product. They just need a product that is good enough so that they can leverage their monopoly to "cut off your air supply". For instance, does "lower price for Windows Vista used on virtualized computers" apply to microsoft VPC only or
      • I think you may have forgotten who owns VMware [emc.com].

        This isn't the same deal as Microsoft killing Unix vendors, or software providers. Microsoft doesn't compete at all in the storage market, and EMC is a very strong (probably stronger) influence at the enterprise level.
        Microsoft also has to compete against _existing_ "poor man's" virtualization solutions, which even VMware already provides. Microsoft WILL have to make a better product to win this. Can they? They don't really have room for a ME or Vista in th
  • Virtualize Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pesc (147035) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @10:38AM (#22137458)
    Windows virtualization strategy is to embrace Linux in the server rooms by virtualizing it. This will degrade Linux from an operating system to an application stack. You will buy the OS from Microsoft, and the Linux application stack from Novell.

    Thus, Microsoft will extend Linux by providing better drivers to proprietary HW, nice managing consoles, etc.

    When this is sufficiently entrenched, the extinguish phase can begin when somehow Microsofts virtualized software stacks run better than the virtualized Linux stack.
    • by jjohnson (62583)
      That may be their strategy, but it sucks.

      VMWare ESX runs a stripped down Linux kernel to provide just barely enough OS to launch images. Solaris and Linux both have kernel level virtualization built in.

      Against that, running a complete Microsoft OS underneath your virtualized OSes just seems bizarre from an architectural/performance perspective, as well as a cost perspective. I can't see any traction for MS with this strategy.

      The only way I can MS gaining a significant share of the virtualization space is
  • Oh yeah, Windows, the only OS that becomes BETTER when stuffed under hypervisor.

    All others implement host partitioning within OS kernel, so single scheduler and virtual memory can use shared resources better. Windows, of course, would rather replace those things with braindead hypervisor because its own resource management is not any better. Great job indeed.
  • Wait until everyone else does the dirty work and buy them or force them out of business.

    That is the advantage of being an monopoly with more $ then all the rest of the players combined.
  • Assuming the primary VM platform is servers, Sun is also a legitimate player in the VM market. They give away their version of Xen free. OpenSolris and Solaris run on Sparc, AMD and Intel boxes. They make an excellent home for Windows and Linux Virtual Machines. Do you think Microsoft wants Linux VM's in the mix? Microsoft may be able to hurt VMware by giving away their virtualization offering, but Sun may have more staying power and may be a safer route overall for businesses. This will be an interesti
  • "an alliance with Citrix Systems, owners of XenSource"

    Either this is a bad case of "sleeping in bed with the enemy" or someone has a lame-ass sense of humor.

    Citrix had better have Perry Mason level attorneys handling this or we're screwed!

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