Many have commented on a blog entry posted by by Mike Neil on Windows Server Division Blog indicating that Viridian, Microsoft's virtual machine software project, is likely to be delivered six months later than planned. Since he's general manager of virtualization at Microsoft, his comments are a strong indicator of how that project is going. Mary Jo Folley, my fellow ZDnet Blogger has already commented about this in her Blog. Her comments can be found here. I'd like to take a different tack. What does this really mean for those interested in this technology?
Writing software that gets between a complex software system, such as an operating system, and its underlying hardware is no simple trick. Just ask the folks who developed VMware's products or the folks who've been doing that over at IBM for over 25 years. It's tricky to say the least. Developing a virtual machine software implementation is every bit as demanding as writing a general purpose operating system.
Personally, I would think that Microsoft's customers would rather give Microsoft time to get it right. I don't think that any organization is going to appreciate having something delivered to their corporate table that was still raw in the middle. That just wouldn't be to their taste. The market, after all, is not really being hampered by this delay. There are, after all, alternatives available from VMware, Virtual Iron, and XenSource.
So, is this really cause for great concern? No. Those needing to move forward today can use today's products. Those having an absolute requirement for Microsoft's products can wait, knowing that the final result will be better engineered and wasn't rushed to the market.
I'm sure that the marketing team at VMware, Virtual Iron and XenSource are pleased by this delay. It gives them the opportunity to push forward in the attempt to gain increased market penetration. The ground they gain will be hard for Microsoft to recover.