Posted by Anandeep Pannu
Senior Program Manager – Open Source Technical Center

Virtualization technology plays an increasingly critical role at all levels of IT, from the desktop to the datacenter. As more organizations use virtualization to manage mission-critical workloads, they are taking advantage of the cost-saving benefits of server consolidation and building foundations for private, public and hybrid cloud computing.  To help customers adopt virtualization and progress toward cloud computing, Microsoft is committed to supporting multiple platforms with its server virtualization solution.  Tomorrow at BSDCan 2012, Microsoft and its partners NetApp and Citrix will extend this cross-platform commitment, presenting FreeBSD support on Windows Server Hyper-V. 

The FreeBSD drivers will allow FreeBSD to run as a first-class guest on the Windows Server Hyper-V hypervisor. The drivers will be fully released early this summer, including the source code for the drivers under the BSD license, and will initially work with FreeBSD 8.2 and 8.3 on Windows Server 2008 R2.

For Microsoft the project breaks new ground – it’s the first project supporting open source development alongside commercial partners like NetApp and Citrix.  Also, the FreeBSD community is a new relationship for us relative to other open source communities that we’ve worked with for years.  It was invaluable to have partners NetApp and Citrix, both users of and contributors to FreeBSD, be so knowledgeable about how to enable their products to run on Hyper-V with high performance.  Given their expertise, they focused their attention mostly on the storage and network aspects of the drivers respectively, but the project was a joint effort in all aspects.  Microsoft partnered with Insight Global on developing the VMBUS driver, which is the core that interfaces between the guest operating system and the host Windows Server Hyper-V hypervisor.  From the earliest stages the code was intended to be open source, with the goal of incorporating it into the core of FreeBSD.  This drove decisions such as using Github as the software development infrastructure.

Check back on the blog tomorrow when we’ll have an interview with NetApp’s Joe CaraDonna, Technical Director of Core Operating Systems.  Joe will share his thoughts on how this collaboration will support FreeBSD and Microsoft customers and partners, as well as his insights into what’s next.