I had a chance to speak with Aaron Holzer of Microsoft about a program they've been working on for quite some time, the 3rd party Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP). Customers have made it clear to Microsoft that they expect support for Microsoft software even if it is running in a virtual environment hosted by someone else's virtualization software. Microsoft, like most suppliers of software, made it clear that they couldn't support software offered by others since they didn't have access to the source code, had no expertise with that software and couldn't test each and every combination of hardware and software in the Microsoft ecosystem.
Don't try to boil the ocean
Having been in product management at DEC, I can understand the necessity of limiting what is supported to the set of hardware and software that can be tested together. The company faces challenges with each 3rd party product it chooses to support.
Customers, on the other hand, would tell Microsoft that they weren't asking Microsoft to support the 3rd party software, only to support the Microsoft software. Microsoft would tell them to reproduce the problem outside of the 3rd party virtual server environment and then come back for support.
From the sidelines, the battle sounded reminiscent of some bad monster movie.
Enter Microsoft's SVVP
It's clear that Microsoft management finally understood what their best customers were demanding and started to put together a program that would allow 3rd parties to validate their software using a Microsoft developed testing procedure. Once validated, Microsoft would be able to support its software and 3rd party support issues could be handed off to that 3rd party.
The goal is to allow Windows operating systems and supported software to be validated and supported on a 3rd party hypervisor using standard processes. Microsoft, by the way, does not plan to offer support for 3rd party software regardless of if the hypervisor comes from Microsoft or some 3rd party. So, we can't expect to see Red Hat or SUSE Linux supported by Microsoft even it it is running in an environment created by Microsoft's own hypervisor.
More to come
I don't have all of the details of Microsoft's SVVP. That being said, it appears a reasonable, prudent response to customer requirements.
Would this program create an environment that would satisfy your organization's requirements for service?