Red Hat and Microsoft said on Monday they will be expanding their alliance on virtualisation technology and enabling each other to validate their respective software.
For users of Red Hat's Enterprise Linux and Microsoft's Windows Server, that means those products can be fully validated as suitable to interoperate with each other's applications, easing application moves from one platform to the other.
In future, Red Hat will validate Windows Server guests to be supported on Red Hat Enterprise virtualisation technologies and Microsoft will validate Red Hat Enterprise Linux server guests to be supported on Windows Server Hyper-V and Microsoft Hyper-V Server.
However, the first part of the process will be for each company to test each other's software with applications working with each other in the same computing environment.
"This development is to be welcomed," said Tony Lock, an analyst with Freeform Dynamics. "Customers and companies need their software to be able to work with other software and they will not put up with it if they find that it doesn't."
Gary Chen, a virtualisation specialist with analysts IDC, also believes the move is good news for customers. "Most customers run heterogeneous networks and having interoperability between [Microsoft and Red Hat] will make virtualising these environments much easier for enterprise customers," he said in a statement.
"Physical hardware doesn't care what operating system is installed on top of it, and virtual hardware provided by a hypervisor should be no different," he said.
The principal issue now, according to Lock, will be the execution of the deal. "These agreements require a lot of effort if they are going to work," he said. "Whether or not they do so will be all about execution. They have to put the right processes in place to make it work."
The agreement will establish co-ordinated technical support for Microsoft and Red Hat's mutual customers who use server virtualisation, the companies said in the statement. But the agreements do not include "any patent or open-source licensing rights", the companies said, which will leave individual licensing issues to the customer. There was no financial agreement.