Friday, February 13, 2009

Virtualization update - getting hyper

I previously cited this Charles Babcock article, but didn't really delve into it. His major point:

What's going to stop Hyper-V virtual machines from taking off beneath the central IT radar as a cheap alternative to going through the agonizing process of getting another server out of the purchasing department? IT doesn't approve? Hasn't stopped 'em before.

And once Hyper-V gets a toehold, it will spread until one day the IT manager realizes he's got to manage the Hyper-V virtual machines alongside his VMware orCitrix (NSDQ: CTXS) XenServer virtual machines. Maybe he's got to manage all three, and throw in a stray Virtual Iron, Sun xVM, or Oracle (NSDQ: ORCL) VM virtual machine -- all members of the open source Xen family of hypervisors, but each one different -- as well. Wouldn't it be nice if users had the option of regenerating them all to run in a neutral format that could be recognized by any hypervisor?

So what is a hypervisor? TechTarget helps out:

A hypervisor, also called a virtual machine manager, is a program that allows multiple operating systems to share a single hardware host. Each operating system appears to have the host's processor, memory, and other resources all to itself. However, the hypervisor is actually controlling the host processor and resources....

More here, including the links to Microsoft stuff.

But it's not just tech people that are watching what Microsoft does. Douglas Brown notes:

With the upcoming release of Windows Server 2008 R2 and the amazing Windows 7, Microsoft has added native support in both operating systems for their virtual hard drive (VHD) file format....

As Microsoft is locked in a battle with VMware for virtualization market share, could embedding their own virtual drive format be seen as using their overwhelming share of the desktop and server OS market to their advantage? I quickly found a possible parallel and asked myself... is this the same as when they embedded "search" in the Internet Explorer browser which caused Google to go and whine and complain to the Justice Department? This result of which was to force Microsoft to create an “open” search so competitors, such as Google, would have the same ability to embed their tools into the Microsoft browser and OS.

Keeping with this thought process, one has to ask.....will Microsoft be forced to create an “open” virtual file format feature so VMware can embed their own proprietary virtual hard drive (VMDK) support in to Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 in order for users to natively mount a VMware created virtual hard drive file?

See Brown's conclusions here.
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