The Red Hat and Microsoft pact: A nice win for mixed source shops; Frenemies vs VMware

The Red Hat and Microsoft pact: A nice win for mixed source shops; Frenemies vs VMware

Summary: Red Hat and Microsoft have teamed up on a virtualization interoperability pact that's a big deal for customers--especially the mixed source variety--and a potential worry for VMware. The announcement, which landed Monday, has a few moving parts, but the big takeaway is that each company will validate and certify each other's virtualization software and coordinate technical support.

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Red Hat and Microsoft have teamed up on a virtualization interoperability pact that's a big deal for customers--especially the mixed source variety--and a potential worry for VMware. 

The announcement, which landed Monday, has a few moving parts, but the big takeaway is that each company will validate and certify each other's virtualization software and coordinate technical support. That's a nice win for customers that are increasingly going mixed source with Linux and Windows servers in their data centers. 

Here's what you need to know:

  • Red Hat and Microsoft customers will run Windows Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtual servers on either environment with configurations tested by both sides. Red Hat will validate Windows Server guests and Microsoft will reciprocate so that Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers will be supported on Windows Hyper-V. Matt Asay notes that the Red Hat-Microsoft pact "is a major win for customers."
  • Technical support will be coordinated. Microsoft's Peter Galli adds that the deal "will allow customers to monitor end-to-end data center applications that are distributed across both Windows Server and RHEL, whether these servers are physical or virtual."
  • There are no patent, intellectual property or licensing fine print between the two sides. IP is what had the open source community screaming about the Microsoft-Novell pact. Mary Jo Foley explains:

To be clear, the newly minted Microsoft-Red Hat partnership is not the same as the Microsoft-Novell one that Microsoft unveiled two years ago. There is no patent-protection clause that is part of the new Microsoft-Red Hat agreement, meaning Red Hat has not agreed to license any Microsoft patents in the name of guaranteeing its customers that Microsoft won’t sue them for possible patent infringement. No support certificates for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) will be sold by Microsoft, either.

While there are a few quibbles about the Microsoft-Red Hat pact it's hard not to come away positive on the deal. 

The two parties haven't set a date for availability yet.

Target: VMware

Although the nuts and bolts of the Red Hat-Microsoft are straightforward, the impact on VMware isn't. One thing is clear: Red Hat and Microsoft have two virtualization technologies that are both aiming to upend VMware's dominance. Microsoft has Hyper-V and Red Hat Enterprise Linux has virtualization built in. 

While interoperability is great for the customer, the Red Hat and Microsoft pact is also about taking on VMware. You won't find the VMware rationale in a press release or official statements, but if you look hard enough the hints aren't so subtle. 

Mike Neil, general manager of virtualization at Microsoft, writes on his blog:

Ever since we released Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Terminal Services, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 and Microsoft App-V 4.5 last year, customers and partners have been getting huge value from server consolidation projects, have been able to increase business continuity at much lower costs than with VMware, and have decreased the time and cost required to deliver applications to end users. And while doing this, they’ve been able to use a familiar set of system management tools for both their virtualized and non-virtualized systems and applications across the datacenter and desktops. In fact, Chris from Kroll Factual Data wrote about his DR project on this blog last year.

Neil didn't even finish his first paragraph before he threw a jab at VMware. Red Hat is more than happy to join the fray. The enemy of your enemy is your friend.

Also seeMicrosoft Hyper-V to VMware: We have you surrounded

Topics: Servers, Cloud, Hardware, Linux, Microsoft, Open Source, Virtualization, VMware

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10 comments
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  • Please get it right!

    It's "the enemy of my enemy is my *ally*."

    *Big* difference...
    wolf_z
  • MS interoperable with Linux?

    If you believe that MS will guarantee Linux interoperability then I've got some bottom land to sell you
    lkarnis@...
  • Microsoft has the same agreement with Sun Microsystems

    For xVM; Microsoft supports Solaris in a VM on their solution and Sun supports Windows in a VM on xVM.
    What's interesting is that xVM can accept VMWare VMs, allowing a user to move or copy a virtual server from VMWare to xVM on Solaris, assuming the platform is Intel or AMD.
    914four
  • interesting to see what sun does

    virtual box is very very good - and getting better
    walkerjian@...
  • RE: The Red Hat and Microsoft pact: A nice win for mixed source shops; Fren

    You buy VMware for the stellar support. You buy anything else because you are cheap.
    NetworkElf
    • I disagree...

      You buy xVM Server because you want the inherent hardware fault management layer that Solaris gives you as well as the more reliable ZFS filesystem. Running W2k3 or 2k8, or even RHES or SLES in an xVM VM will arguably increase the availability of these OS since they will gain the extra protection from the hardware that Solaris resiliency features provide.
      914four
  • VMWare

    Well Boys and girls it had to come sooner or later; But as the man onece sede "You can only get what you pay for"
    Sleep well puppa
    puppadave
  • See the another solutons

    VirtualBox from SUN is one very good solution and works perfect for SOHO and education. Another solutions are good too, and the market for the virtual computer is not on the end he is on the beginning!
    uxmarc@...
  • RE: The Red Hat and Microsoft pact: A nice win for mixed source shops; Fren

    So Microsoft fears its monopoly threatened? They don't like a market leader in certain software components (VMware) to have a fair share of revenue. They'll probably position this deal as an opportunity for customers to eliminate payments to a market leader, only to hand that money in to a monopolist, putting the customer in a proprietary trap.
    vijfhuizen
  • Another viewpoint

    This article provides a solid overview of the news. Another viewpoint can be found at Margaret Lewis' virtualization blog http://links.amd.com/coopetition
    AMDJulie