VMWare figures out that virtualization is an OS feature

VMWare figures out that virtualization is an OS feature

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Every now and again, we like to use this forum to provide commentary and context on happenings in the industry. Today’s news from Waltham, Mass. and Palo Alto, Calif. is a good example. On the one hand, there’s a Microsoft competitor. On the other hand, there’s a Microsoft partner (see today’s joint webcast). And if there’s such a thing as a third hand, there are implications for Red Hat, perhaps even IBM.

So what’s our take?

First, the Microsoft and Novell alliance has been very successful. It’s been 3.5 years since the big announcement with Novell, and we have more than 475 customers who’ve chosen to work with Microsoft and Novell. We’ll continue to work with Novell around technical support and interoperability. The joint interoperability lab in Cambridge is very active, and we recently announced work together in high-performance computing. Oh, and did I mention today’s joint webcast on heterogeneous datacenter ;-)

Second, the vFolks in Palo Alto are further isolating themselves within the industry. Microsoft’s interop efforts have provided more choice and flexibility for customers, including our work with Novell. We’re seeing VMWare go down an alternate path. As one of many examples of our work with open source communities, we’re adding functionality to the Linux Integration Services for Hyper-V. In fact, we have an RC version of the Linux Integration Services, which support Linux virtual machines with up to 4 virtual CPUs. In fact, we’ll talk more of this on June 25 at Red Hat Summit. For more meat, see Matthew’s post about what you need to know about Linux on Hyper-V. And if you’re talking about technical support, let’s not forget the Server Virtualization Validation Program, which includes Red Hat, VMWare, Novell, Cisco and others.

Third, looks like VMWare finally determined that virtualization is a server OS feature. I’m sure we’ve said that once or twice over the years ;-). The vFolks now plan to ship a full version of a server OS with vSphere, and support it, to fulfill their application development and application deployment plans.

Fourth, this is a bad deal for customers as they’re getting locked into an inflexible offer. Check out the terms and conditions. For example: “Customers may run SLES with the accompanying patches and updates subscription entitled by a VMware purchase only in virtual machines running on VMWare vSphere 4.0 and 4.1 hosts that have active vSphere SnS with VMware.” So be sure not to drop support or you’ll invalidate your license. Or maybe just stick with small deployments.

Last, the vFolks have no public cloud offering, like Windows Azure, like Amazon EC2. While we’re demoing and building capabilities so customers have a common and flexible application and management model across on-premises and cloud computing, they’re stitching together virtual appliances to fill the void. Don’t forget – the next version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager will configure VMs from VMWare and Citrix.

What are your thoughts?

Patrick O’Rourke, director of communications, Server and Tools Business

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  • I think that you're trying to spin this too hard.  This looks like it's much more about Novell/Suse trying to become the default virtualized Linux distribution than it is about vmWare taking a swing at the Windows/Hyper-V pairing.  Every vmWare customer who was running Linux (or looking at Linux) is going to have to work hard to justify using anything other than SLES.  Meanwhile, Windows shows will continue to virtualize as they have been.

    Your third point is totally unsubstantiated by this announcement.  They are not integrating an OS into vSphere nor are they integrating vSphere as an OS feature in SLES.  They are merely including SLES licensing with vSphere licenses and selling SLES support alongside.

    Your fourth point, while more or less accurate, has nothing to do with this announcement.

  • Did you read that announcement carefully?  They aren't shipping a version of SLES that will host VMs.  So how does this mean that VMware believes virtualization is an OS feature?

  • Wow - it kind of makes me wonder if anybody believes that VMWare will still be in business in 2 years without some sort of a major paradigm shift and maybe a top down restructuring of the company.

  • Thanks for the blog post.

    Novell's longstanding strategy on virtualization and hypervisor support is to offer customers maximum choice and flexibility. That was the impetus behind our groundbreaking partnership with Microsoft. The reality is, most customers have a mixed environment and they're looking for solutions that work across all of their existing IT investments. We've worked hard with all the major vendors to make sure that SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is optimized as the “best guest” OS no matter what hypervisor is being used.

    Our partnership with Microsoft has been a tremendous success at the commercial and technical levels. We've engaged with hundreds of customers over the last 3 ½ years, and have made major strides to offer technical solutions that bridge Linux and Microsoft environments, including groundbreaking work supporting Hyper-V.

    The partnership with VMware is absolutely unique in the industry in that VMware is OEMing SLES so they can deliver and support it along with shipments of their flagship vSphere product. Further, they're standardizing on SLES for all their virtual appliances. This is a tremendous endorsement of Novell and of our technology. VMware selected Novell and SLES because, among other things, we offer more than 5,000 certified applications, more than double that of Red Hat. Again, an example of offering customers choice.

  • @OtherKevin - thanks for reading and commenting. As Ian says below, and you say, certainly SLES gets most favored nation status with vSphere customers. We'll have to agree to disagree on VMW's motivation around points 3 and 4.

    @Huh? - huh? ;-). Yes, SLES for the apps/appliances.

    @Bart - thanks for reading. With an EPS of 50x earnings, I'll bet VMW is good for at least 2 years ;-)

    @Ian - thanks for reading. Yes it's good news for NOVL.

  • MS is warning customers about getting locked into and inflexible offer?  Seriously?

  • If by VMware "further isolating themselves within the industry" you mean the only vendor in the leadership quadrant for the x86 Server Virtualization market according to Gartner, then you are right.


  • blogs.vmware.com/.../setting-microsoft-straight-on-the-vmware-novell-oem-agreement.html

    This pretty much says it all...

  • We made it clear to our Microsoft TAM that Hyper-V is a bit of a joke compared to how many generations of innovation VMware is ahead of it in the enterprise. And from this post it's also pretty clear Microsoft's virtualization strategy is akin to throwing dust in their opponents face, rather than innovate.

  • Did you read that announcement carefully?