For users of Cisco virtual switch technology, VMware has been the solution that Cisco made available. Unsurprising, given VMware's relationship with Cisco and its prominent role in Cisco's Unified Computing System converged infrastructure solution. But with the introduction of Windows Server 8, Cisco will be working with Microsoft to bring that same level of support and features to users of the Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization.
Currently, VMware is integrated at the hypervisor level with the Cisco Nexus virtual switch, while users of Microsoft Hyper-V need use a Microsoft virtual switch to connect to Cisco hardware. This means that VMware users with Cisco environments had a better view of the network resources provided by virtualized and physical systems better management and provisioning control of virtualized resources. With Windows Server 8 Hyper-V integration, Microsoft's virtualization will be on par with VMware in the Cisco environment. Cisco environments will be manageable with Microsoft's System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
Along with the Cisco Nexus 1000V distributed virtual switch, Windows Server 2008 will also be integrated into the Cisco Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) technology. This will give Microsoft/Cisco users better integration and support Microsoft's SR-IOV capabilities for high performance VMs, better management of live networks and better detail for planning and deployment. Both Cisco and Microsoft virtualization management tools will be usable by customers integrating the two sets of technologies.
Bringing Microsoft on par with VMware in the Cisco universe should bring business gains to both parties, with existing Microsoft shops being able to better integrate Cisco's core networking infrastructure components and Cisco gaining Microsoft as a solid partner in the UCS single-source datacenter provider model.