Microsoft and Novell had their first virtualization child Thursday. A joint virtualization effort that couples SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell operating with Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V. The news itself isn't all that important--part of the Microsoft-Novell pact--dictated that SUSE would use the software giant's virtualization technology. But if you zoom out the Novell move to offer Microsoft virtualization in mixed source environments (statement) is just the latest item this week showing that Microsoft is flexing its distribution muscles.
The message is clear: Microsoft's Hyper-V has VMware surrounded and the software giant will beat the virtualization drum forever. Sure, VMware has just as many distribution agreements, but Microsoft's ecosystem can kick into overdrive quickly. It's an old strategy for Microsoft and I'd bet it's the biggest reason VMware now has Paul Maritz, a former Microsoft honcho, as CEO. If VMware (all resources) is going to stand a chance it needs to understand what it's up against.
Microsoft's moves this week aren't necessarily about technology. Hyper-V is good enough to annoy VMware, but isn't its technology peer just yet. This is about art of war and why Microsoft could squash VMware with its heft. Novell's pact with Microsoft gets Hyper-V in mixed source environments. Microsoft says the offering is "the first to include technology developed by both companies at their joint Interoperability Lab."
Dell launched blades, support and services focused on Hyper-V. It also integrated its EqualLogic storage lineup with Hyper-V (statement). In a nutshell, Dell is supporting all of Microsoft's virtualization technology and offering services to get customers up and running. Dell also launched services for VMware too.
HP updated its servers, storage, software and services for Microsoft's virtualization offering. Sun did much of the same and said it was collaborating with Microsoft to make the Sun xVM server play well with Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V. In a nutshell, the lineups of both companies will be interoperable with Hyper-V.
Individually these announcements don't add up to much. If you put them together you realize that Hyper-V is now everywhere. Support and interoperability doesn't completely equate to a market share grab, but it's early. Now that VMware is surrounded the games will really begin.