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Microsoft Unveils Virtualization Strategy 141

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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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by goldspider ( 445116 ) <ardrake79@gm a i> 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.
  • 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 []), 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 []) 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 [].

    On top of that, VMware has open sourced their virtual disk format (VMDK []), has collaborated with Xen on a completely open VM portable packaging format (OVF []), and has a number of fully open source programs []. 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.

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