Windows Server users now get to build OpenStack clouds on Ubuntu

Collaboration between Canonical and Microsoft has certified plugins that let Windows Server run as a guest operating system on Ubuntu and OpenStack.
Written by Toby Wolpe, Contributor

Canonical says it has completed work with Microsoft on the software necessary for Windows Server to run on top of OpenStack and Ubuntu.

The company behind the Debian-based Linux operating system has announced the availability of virtualised drivers that allow Windows guest OSes to run on KVM hypervisors and subsequently on the OpenStack cloud computing platform.

The VirtIO drivers are designed to optimise the performance of a guest operating system running on an Ubuntu and OpenStack cloud, the company said in a blogpost. They are available for all current Windows Server editions, including Windows 2008R2, Windows 2012, and Windows 2012R2.

"This allows enterprises with a large Windows Server footprint to build OpenStack clouds on Ubuntu but keep their guest OS and workloads untouched," Canonical cloud product marketing manager Sally Radwan said.

Canonical's aim is to extend the Ubuntu and OpenStack ecosystem by testing thousands of third-party products against OpenStack to ensure compatibility and performance, using the OIL OpenStack Interoperability Lab, Radwan said.

The collaboration with Microsoft is part of that drive and involved Canonical going through the certification process under Microsoft’s Windows Server Virtualization Validation Program, or SVVP.

As a result, Microsoft signed off the software as a stable and reliable plugin, she said. It also certified the full platform, endorsing Ubuntu's ability to run Windows guests stably.

"The end goal is to provide a reliable platform for all our customers and give them a choice to run Ubuntu or Windows equally well," Radwan said.

Canonical customers can access the drivers through the Ubuntu Advantage support programme. The company says it will ensure Windows drivers are updated as part of Ubuntu's six-monthly hardware enablement kernel release.

The drivers will run on any Ubuntu Server Long-term Support release, as well as any OpenStack version supported under that release.

Windows accounts for 6.2 percent of the guest operating system images on the dominant Amazon EC2 infrastructure-as-a-service platform, according to figures from TheCloudMarket.com. The leaders are Ubuntu with 52.3 percent and other Linux distros with 26.2 percent.

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