Microsoft hits back on expanded Novell-VMware alliance

Summary:It's relatively rare that Microsoft execs comment officially on Redmond's competitors. Something's got to really hit a nerve before that happens. It seems that occurred this week, based on a June 9 post on the Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog.

It's relatively rare that Microsoft execs comment officially on Redmond's competitors. Something's got to really hit a nerve before that happens. It seems that occurred this week, based on a June 9 post on the Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog.

Novell and VMWare announced an expanded partnership on June 9, via which VMware will distribute and support the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. VMware also announced plans to standardize its virtual-appliance-based product on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

The newly minted deal didn't sit well with Microsoft -- especially because Microsoft execs love to trot out Novell as an example of Microsoft's interoperability love. Microsoft and Novell announced a similar distribution and support deal a couple of years ago (which also included patent-protection clauses that irked a number of customers and players in the open source camp). And just last week, Microsoft execs highlighted new high-performance advances achieved by Novell and Microsoft in their joint lab in Cambridge, Mass.

In a June 9 post, entitled "VMWare figures out that virtualization is an OS feature," Patrick O’Rourke, director of communications, Server and Tools Business, highlights the 3.5 year partnership between MIcrosoft and Novell, claiming it has benefited more than 475 joint customers.

"(T)he vFolks in Palo Alto are further isolating themselves within the industry. Microsoft’s interop efforts have provided more choice and flexibility for customers, including our work with Novell. We’re seeing VMWare go down an alternate path," O'Rourke says.

He claimed the VMware-Novell partnership is "bad for customers as they 're getting locked into an inflexible offer." (Was the uncertainty created by Microsoft over the indemnification of Novell customers using certain versions of SUSE "flexible"?) I'd say there's quite a few hoops for customers to jump through whether they're relying on Microsoft or VMware as their SUSE distribution partner....

O'Rourke also cites the new partnership as proving VMware has "finally determined that virtualization is a server OS feature" because of the announced appliance that will include a full version of a server OS with vSphere.

O'Rourke ended his post by pointing out VMware doesn't have a public-cloud offering like Windows Azure.

"While we’re demoing and building capabilities so customers have a common and flexible application and management model across on-premises and cloud computing, they’re stitching together virtual appliances to fill the void," he blogged. "Don’t forget – the next version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager will configure VMs from VMWare and Citrix" -- and support server application virtualization, I might add. (SCVMM .Next is due in the latter half of 2011.)

What do you think? Nothing but a war of words? Or did this deal between Novell and VMware really hit Microsoft where it hurt?

Topics: VMWare, Hardware, Microsoft, Open Source, Servers, Software, Virtualization

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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