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Microsoft and Red Hat Team on Virtualization Support

Microsoft and Red Hat inked a deal to ensure that Windows operating systems and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OSes can run as virtual machines on each other's platforms.

The deal, announced on Monday, was a simple one in which the two companies joined each other's testing programs. It did not involve the sort of joint marketing and intellectual property agreements seen when Microsoft and Novell struck a similar interoperability agreement involving Windows and Novell's SuSE Linux.

That deal caused a furor among the open source community at the time because Microsoft's IP agreements with Novell implied that Linux OSes might violate some of Microsoft's patents. Red Hat was one of many Linux vendors crying foul.

Ultimately, it was the strong desires of customers for interoperability that brought Microsoft and Red Hat to the table.

"Our customers have told us that technical support for server virtualization is an area we must work together," explained Mike Neil, Microsoft's general manager of virtualization, in an announcement. "And that's certainly understandable when you consider the fact that roughly 80% of the primary guest (in a VM) operating systems on x86 servers today come from Microsoft or Red Hat."

Customers will be able to get support from either Microsoft or Red Hat on enabling virtualization if they have valid support agreements in place. A FAQ published by Red Hat described the level of support required as "customers with current Microsoft support agreements for Windows Server 2008" and "any customer with a valid Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription and using Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 or 5.3 guests."

Microsoft is planning to test and validate Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 and 5.3 guests on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008.

Red Hat is currently working on validating the following guest OSes using its virtualization technologies: Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 and Windows 2000 Server SP4.

The validation results are expected to become available sometime this year. When the results are available, the versions of software will be published on Microsoft's Server Virtualization Validation Program Web site, letting users know that they can get support on the virtualized solution. For its part, Red Hat expects to complete its validation testing by mid-year.

The validation results will be published at Microsoft's site here, and at Red Hat's site here.

Microsoft also described plans to support Red Hat Enterprise Linux in its upcoming operations manager product.

"System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, which will be released in calendar Q2 2009, includes cross platform monitoring and support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux server versions 4 and 5 so that you can manage the applications and OS in the guest VM," Neil wrote. "Other Linux distros will be supported, too."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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