Microsoft and XenSource

Microsoft recently issued a press release entitled “Microsoft and XenSource to Develop Interoperability for Windows Server “Longhorn” Virtualization”. From the press release:
Microsoft Corp. and XenSource Inc. today announced they will cooperate on the development of technology to provide interoperability between Xen™-enabled Linux and the new Microsoft Windows hypervisor technology-based Windows Server virtualization. With the resulting technology, the next version of Windows Server, code-named “Longhorn,” will provide customers with a flexible and powerful virtualization solution across their hardware infrastructure and operating system environments for cost-saving consolidation of Windows, Linux and Xen-enabled Linux distributions.
Notice that the compatibility is one sided. That is, they will support running Windows as the hypervisor to run virtualized Linux hosts. They, however, make no claim that Windows will run inside a Xen or Linux based hypervisor. This in effect means that they are hoping if you want to run both Linux and Windows in a Xen environment, all of your hypervisors will have to be Windows machines. Also note the target release date for this – “plans to release the solution to manufacturing (RTM) within 180 days of the RTM of Windows Server “Longhorn,” which is targeted for the end of 2007”. That puts the release well into 2008, which is a long ways off. I'd guess quite a bit is going to happen in the virtualization world in the next 18 months, so who knows what this will end up looking like in the end. This smacks of the tried and true traditional of Microsoft making a press release about something they don't yet have a product to address that's in a rapidly growing segment. What they hope to do is make enough people hold off on competing solutions while they bring their product to market. It often times works quite well for them. This time though, they aren't just competing with the likes of VMware (which is now a gratis product on the low end). They are also facing the realization that as Intel and AMD chips that support hardware virtualization are common place, it could rapidly change the rules of the OS game. The implications of workable virtualization are fascinating, and something I'll be blogging my opinion on very soon.
–jeremy
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