Microsoft, Citrix virtual machine software announcements

Summary:Both Microsoft and Citrix/XenSource made important announcements January 21. Since they've been widely reported, I'd rather not cite the details.

Both Microsoft and Citrix/XenSource made important announcements January 21. Since they've been widely reported, I'd rather not cite the details. I'd rather consider what this really means.


Microsoft made a sweeping announcement that indicated that they changing their licensing rules for the Windows operating system and making them appear more like the rules used by folks like Red Hat and Novell/SUSE. While that move is likely to make it easier for organizations and individuals to consider virtual clients and virtual servers, it doesn't really address some of the deeper issues of application and tool usage if I've understood the announcement completely.

It appears that Microsoft would still require people to pay for mulitple copies of Office, development tools, collaboration software, data management software, etc. that all run on a single machine.

So, if I choose to segment a powerful desktop system or server into "production", "development", and "personal" systems to isolate separate workflows and run them in their own virtual machine, I would have to pay a separate fee for each copy of office that I chose to install even though it would just be me using one single physical system. If I accessed an organizational Exchange/SharePoint server, I would have to pay for a separate client access license (CAL) for each of the virtual machines even though its just me using one single physical system.

While Microsoft has made great strides internally to make this public announcement, it still needs to unify and simplfy its overall licensing and business strategy. I'm sure that we'll hear more about this over time. I hope to learn more about Microsoft's current and future licensing architecture and will report on it here.


Citrix/XenSource and Microsoft announced that they were going to work together to make it possible for a virtual machine to run under each company's hypervisor without requiring that it be changed or updated in any way. Since Xen is an open source project, it is likely that some of this technology will shortly be found in Xen implementations offered by Red Hat, Novell/SUSE, Virtual Iron, Oracle and Sun. If not, it's likely that these players will find their own way to do this.

Either way, its an announcement that will remove barriors and inhibitors from customers' paths.

Topics: Open Source, CXO, Data Centers, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Virtualization


Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He is responsible for research, publications, and operations. Mr. Kusnetzky has been involved with information technology since the late 1970s. Mr. Kusnetzky has been responsible for research operations at the 451 Group; corporate and... Full Bio

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