Microsoft has signed a "legal covenant agreement" with Linux operating system provider China Standard Software Co. Ltd. (CS2C), and will be jointly developing, marketing and selling solutions for the Chinese cloud-computing market with that company, the pair announced on August 22.
The Microsoft press release on the deal explains the deal this way:
"The primary goal of this agreement is to provide public and private cloud solutions to a diverse array of industries through a rich partner ecosystem. The mixed source solutions stemming from this collaboration will be built on Microsoft’s Hyper-V Open Cloud architecture and will include support to run CS2C NeoKylin Linux Server products. While establishing market and technology collaboration, the two companies have also signed a mutually beneficial customer legal covenant agreement."
I asked Microsoft whether the "legal covenant agreement" is the same kind of patent-protection deal that Microsoft has forged with other Linux vendors, including Novell/AttachmateSUSE, Amazon, General Dynamics, Onkyo and Velocity Micro -- via which these vendors are paying Microsoft patent royalties on their Linux implementations. A Microsoft spokesperson declined to say.
"Through this collaboration, there is a legal covenant agreement between the two companies that will be beneficial to the customers for use of Windows Server and NeoKyLin Linux Server. The terms of that agreement are confidential," the spokesperson said via an e-mailed statement.
On the cloud-computing side, CS2C and Microsoft are focusing on the "Hyper-V Open Cloud Architecture" stack. This is the same stack that Microsoft announced in the fall of 2010 as part of its Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track program, with the addition of the ability to run Linux as part of the stack, the spokesperson confirmed.
Included in the Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track stack, as announced last year, are Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V; System Center Operations Manager; System Center Virtual Machine Manager; System Center Service Manager; Opalis (workflow automation); and System Center Virtual Machine Manager R2 Self-Service Portal. (The Self-Service Portal is the product formerly known as the Dynamic Datacenter Toolkit.)
Via the Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track program, Microsoft and a handful of server partners are providing certified stacks for faster and more “risk-free” private-cloud deployments. Server vendors agreeing to provide validated stacks as part of the Fast Track program included Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IBM and NEC.
Microsoft and CS2C are going to sponsor a joint virtual technology lab in Beijing for solution development and testing of cloud solutions. "The lab will focus on the certification of CS2C NeoKylin Operating System on Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V, creating Microsoft Systems Center management packs for CS2C NeoKylin Operating System application workloads, and incorporating support for CS2C NeoKylin Operating System within the Hyper-V Cloud architecture," the press release noted.
CS2C also announced today that it will be joining the Interop Vendor Alliance, a group of companies working to provide "interoperability with Microsoft systems and to jointly market the interoperability solutions of its members."
In other cloud-interop news, Microsoft has launched a new blog, Windows Azure's Silver Lining, which is aimed at open source and mobile device developers who want to understand how to take advantage of the Windows Azure platform, according to the August 22 introductory post.