by Peter Galli on February 16, 2009 10:30am


Microsoft and Red Hat announced this morning that they have recently signed agreements to test and validate their server operating systems running on one another's hypervisors.

This is deeply significant as it means that customers will be able to confidently deploy Windows Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), virtualized on Microsoft and Red Hat hypervisors, knowing that the solutions will be supported by both companies.

In short, Red Hat has joined Microsoft's Server Virtualization Validation Program, and Microsoft is now a Red Hat partner for virtualization interoperability and support.

Microsoft will also be listed in the Red Hat Hardware Certification List once the Red Hat certification process has been completed later this year.

Microsoft will also publish Linux Integration Components for RHEL when the testing and validation is complete and, according to Mike Neil's blog on this news, Red Hat is expected to provide Windows Hardware Quality Labs drivers for a variety of Windows Server versions.

"This means that those customers with valid support agreements will be able to run these validated configurations and receive joint technical support for running Windows Server on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization, and for running Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Hyper-V Server 2008," Neil says.

So, while Microsoft and Red Hat will continue to compete, customers have asked us to work together on technical support for server virtualization. These agreements respond to that request by giving them a new level of integration between Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Windows Server for their heterogeneous IT environments.

Customers with valid support agreements will now be able to call either Microsoft or Red Hat to have their issues resolved. If the first vendor contacted cannot resolve the issue, they will refer the problem to the other vendor for resolution; assuming the customer also has a valid support agreement with that vendor.

In the event that the second vendor cannot resolve the problem alone, Microsoft and Red Hat will work together to come to a resolution for the mutual customer.

What's more, once RHEL is validated as a guest on Windows Server 2008, Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 - which will include cross platform monitoring - will support RHEL server versions 4 and 5 in the second quarter of this year so that customers can manage the applications and operating systems in the guest VM.

This will allow customers to monitor end-to-end data center applications that are distributed across both Windows Server and RHEL, whether these servers are physical or virtual, thereby improving the visibility organizations have of these distributed applications, and reducing their operational costs by providing a single tool to manage these across operating systems.

Also, to be clear given that questions are going to be asked about how this compares to the existing relationship between Microsoft and Novell, this agreement with Red Hat is specific to joint technical support for our mutual customers using server virtualization. So, in that regard, think of it as one dimensional, whereas Microsoft's partnership with Novell is multi-dimensional.

For more on all this, you can read Mike Neil's blog, the press release here, and watch the public webcast.