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Microsoft Businesses Red Hat Software

Microsoft and Red Hat Team Up On Virtualization 168

mjasay writes "For years Microsoft has insisted that open-source vendors acknowledge its patent portfolio as a precursor to interoperability discussions. Today, Microsoft shed that charade and announced an interoperability alliance with Red Hat for virtualization. The nuts-and-bolts of the agreement are somewhat pedantic, providing for Red Hat to validate Windows Server guests to be supported on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization technologies, and other technical support details. But the real crux of the agreement is what isn't there: patents. Red Hat has long held that open standards and open APIs are the key to interoperability, even as Microsoft insisted patents play a critical role in working together, and got Novell to buy in. Today, Red Hat's vision seems to have won out with an interoperability deal heavy on technical integration and light on lawyers."
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Microsoft and Red Hat Team Up On Virtualization

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  • Re:Et tu, RedHat? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thomascameron ( 686477 ) on Monday February 16, 2009 @02:25PM (#26874959)
    Read TFA. This agreement contains *none* of the bullshit IP limitations Novell agreed to when they sold out. In this case Red Hat and MSFT are only cooperating from a *technical* standpoint. RHT are not agreeing in any way that Linux owes MSFT any IP rights. This is amazing news and sticks a finger in the eye of Novell's sellout.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @02:31PM (#26875053)

    ...Why you would run Windows on top of Linux, given not only the stability history but also since now there are now FOSS alternatives for almost anything Windows can provide, without taking a huge hit to the "total cost of ownership".

    The big need is for situations like this. The hospital where my wife works has RedHat based servers for imaging acquisition and viewing and MS/Cerner for business (booking etc). Getting effective integration for the two has been a PITA because of Microsoft. Hopefully this will change.

  • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Monday February 16, 2009 @02:33PM (#26875075)
    Need to support proprietary applications? (MS Exchange comes screaming to mind)

    Need to support MS Windows user base? (Terminal services, the setup my current employer uses to provide Windows desktops to technical services personnel; although we use VMWare for the task due to licensing issues with MS Windows/virtualization licensing issues)

    Rapid prototyping/development/testing of new Windows technologies? (an appropriate initial hardware investment means no cost associated with purchasing hardware for short-term initiatives)

    There are more. Much as I dislike MicroSoft's products in general, they do have the one desktop more employees are likely to be able to use without first being trained.

  • Re:It is a good sign (Score:5, Interesting)

    by twiddlingbits ( 707452 ) on Monday February 16, 2009 @02:38PM (#26875131)
    No, it means Red Hat sees a market that customers would like to run Windows as a VM under Linux. It just means they'll validate each OS works as a VM under the other's Hypervisor, nothing more. No licenses, no patents. I can see running Windows under Linux as a VM (BSOD only takes down the VM and bringing up a new VM takes seconds..not a 3 minute reboot) if you MUST support something that is Windows legacy but have chosen to go Linux with RH Virtualization in the Data Center. Why you would want to run Linux under the MS Hypervisor is the strange question, unless you just wanted a Linux "sandbox" for some reason. I suspect to get the MS stamp of approval for Windows under Linux they required the reciprocal agreement from RH.
  • It's because of the "almost". There are a lot of people who, right or wrong, believe that they can only get by with whatever Windows-only "Program X" provides. For these people, "close" is not "close enough". When the gearheads who like Linux need to support these applications, virtualizing a Windows instance on Linux makes a lot of sense.

    Even for a pure MS shop, virtualization introduces a lot of flexibility, so that too would be a reason to virtualize.

  • by MrNemesis ( 587188 ) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:57PM (#26877031) Homepage Journal

    Why *wouldn't* you run windows on Linux if you had the chance?!

    From a seasoned VMware ESX admin speaking from an operational standpoint;

    First, I'll explain a few things. Servers today are so mind-bogglingly powerful that even with virtualisation overhead they're easily capable of providing more than enough grunt for hordes of enterprise crapware that, due to shoddy programming or testing, would otherwise be sitting on $7000-worth of barely-utilised tin since the support agreement stipulates "we refuse to support you if you install so much as a text editor on the same machine" - I'm sure anyone else in any SME will agree that this sort of thing is rife. Throwing patch cycles to the side, my number one problem with these legions of power-sucking high-maintenance windows servers is shoddy drivers/firmware.

    ESX, itself a highly specialised Linux-based OS, builds on Linux's rock-solid hardware stability and abstracts away everything so that all windows sees is a unified blend of generic hardware, for which VMware provides their own set of (high quality) drivers, plus some old ones that have worked in windows since the year dot - think OSX on steroids. The ESX boxes basically have the highest uptimes in our entire organisation, plus clustering them is an absolute cinch. Large scale storage is provided by a fibre-attached EMC SAN, which coincidentally also runs a highly specialised Linux-based OS providing CIFS, NFS or dedicated block devices (LUNs). Tools such as P2V make cloning a physical box into a virtual machine a point'n'click operation limited only by your network throughput, and you can even do nifty things like resize that 5% used 137GB filesystem into a 10GB virtual disc.

    Furthermore, thanks to LVM-alikes, you can take an instant snapshot of a system. This allows you to do things like make a snapshot, install patch XYZ, do regression testing and whatnot and roll back if things are unsatisfactory. With windows' reputation for patches not being entirely reliable, this is an utter godsend for development and testing.

    So at the end of the day, running windows on top of gets you:
    Better "hardware" reliability
    The ability to consolidate X U's/Y Watts worth of servers into (X-n) U's/(Y-n) Watts worth of servers, leading to lower overall datacentre expenditure
    Built-in clustering for people with shared storage
    Built-in failover
    Much more robust and/or cheaper methods for development, testing, patch management

    The only downside* to ESX is cost - it's not cheap. And an alliance between RH (pretty much the corporate face of Linux, especially for windows shops) and Microsoft is likely to send the cost for ESX down before the fruits of it's labour become evident. As long as TFA is correct that there's no IP ownership bollocks going on, this is a win for everybody.

    * Not to say that ESX isn't without its flaws, but it certainly has less than most apps you run into in this business. I've heard that VMware is a very much engineer-driven company, and that's true from my POV.

    Disclaimer: I don't work for VMware, but when I can dispense with 96U's worth of servers, shave 8kW of our datacentre power budget, increase availability plus reduce downtime at no cost in performance then you colour me impressed. There's no reason why a competing VM system can't do the same thing.

  • by Kalriath ( 849904 ) * on Monday February 16, 2009 @07:56PM (#26879721)

    Evolution tried, and failed. I don't really blame them though- Microsoft will probably NEVER release their internals for the Outlook/Exchange marriage, and will continually change the way they communicate just to throw off any competition that tries.

    Actually, they've publically released (without any fanfare whatsoever) the entire Exchange server protocol. And there's always Exchange ActiveSync (though that'd have to be a paid addon, since they don't license that for free).

  • Re:It is a good sign (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday February 16, 2009 @09:18PM (#26880649) Journal

    Why you would want to run Linux under the MS Hypervisor is the strange question, unless you just wanted a Linux "sandbox" for some reason.

    I've seen a few places that were Microsoft shops - AD, Exchange, SharePoint and all - but still used Squid as a proxy, and/or Apache for at least part of the intranet. A lot of admins seem to simply prefer these over MS options (ISA in particular is rather hated, or so I hear), and do not trust them to run well enough on Windows boxes.

  • Re:It is a good sign (Score:3, Interesting)

    by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:18PM (#26881909)

    We'll see. It would be nice if they got off their dead asses and did something with the acquisition. They're four years behind the market. Only fanbois seem to defend silly behavior like that. Let's see, six market competitors, one with five years, two with four years, one with 2.5 years, and SunComeLately. Then RH. I wish them the very best of luck. It's a tough VM world out there. Just because it's RH and Linux KVM means little these days.

    NOCs with 1000s of servers running tens of thousands of VMs, now that means something. Today, RH might be the hosted OS/VM, but Red Hat is responsible for virtualizing about zippo/nada/SFA/Zero/Huh-uh VMs. There's a long way to go for them, statistically. That lunch has been eaten, IMHO.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin