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FreeBSD and Microsoft Hyper-V Interoperability Expected This Summer

Microsoft and its partnering companies are finalizing a project that will enable FreeBSD interoperability with Windows Server Hyper-V.

News about the project, which started in October, was announced last week at the BSDCan 2012 event in Ottawa, Canada. The project will produce drivers that will enable the open source FreeBSD server to run as a guest on Microsoft's hypervisor. The drivers will be licensed under the BSD license, meaning freely usable open source code, with delivery expected "early this summer," according to Microsoft's announcement. The drivers will work with Windows Server 2008 R2 and FreeBSD versions 8.2 and 8.3.

FreeBSD is a free Unix-like server typically used by Web hosting companies. Lately, Microsoft's interoperability group has been working to enable Hyper-V interoperability with a number of open source Linux-based servers, including CentOS, Red Hat and SUSE. The FreeBSD collaboration is a new addition to that mix, but Microsoft's point is to support interoperability for customers running multiple server technologies.

For this project, Microsoft is working with a technical staffing company, Insight Global, to develop a VMBUS driver, which will serve as the interface between Hyper-V and FreeBSD. It also partnered with Citrix and NetApp on the project, which are both contributors to FreeBSD and users of the FreeBSD technology. Citrix is focusing on network aspects of FreeBSD interoperability, while NetApp is handing storage aspects, according to Joe CaraDonna, NetApp's technical director of core operating systems, in a Microsoft-conducted interview.

CaraDonna said that NetApp has been collaborating with Microsoft on various projects for more than 10 years. NetApp uses FreeBSD in its Data ONTAP-v virtual storage appliance. The company also has developed its own FreeBSD hypervisor, called "BHyVe," which NetApp released as open source code last year.

NetApp's collaboration extends from its strategic alliance program with Microsoft. Based on its work on this FreeBSD project with Microsoft, NetApp expects to achieve tight integration between its Data ONTAP-v virtual storage appliance and Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor, a company official explained, in a blog post.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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