Feeds

Microsoft so very, very proud of its ties to open source Xen

VMware spat gets nasty

High performance access to file storage

VMware this week started its own publicity war against Microsoft.

In a globule, VMware VP Brian Byun framed the Microsoft and Xen tie-up as he sees it. Here are a few highlights.

"It’s a one-way street that favors Microsoft and Windows running Linux. The arrangement will allow Linux to run on future Microsoft hypervisors through translated calls to the hypervisor when Windows is controlling the hardware, but not the other way around; i.e. there is no mention of Longhorn optimizations or 'enlightenments being ported to Xen or licensed to XenSource to enable a Xen hypervisor to run full optimizations with Longhorn OS."

"XenSource, in diverging from its open source and Linux virtualization roots, is enabling the commercial interests of Windows and building to proprietary Windows API layers. It stands to reason that in order to protect Windows from GPL contamination, XenSource will need to undertake a lot of non-GPL development to translate and buffer the Linux kernel from Windows hypervisor interfaces; and nothing that Microsoft licenses to, or develops with, XenSource is GPL and can be used directly by the Xen or Linux communities and commercial distributions."

"It’s odd to trumpet future interoperability for the Windows hypervisor whose first release is roughly two years away or more, while the Linux hypervisor interfaces are still being actively discussed in the open source community."

There's some rich history behind this Microsoft and VMware war of words and press releases.

Few took VMware seriously when it started out around the time of the dot-com boom. The software maker offered Unix-like partitioning on x86 servers, but everyone was buying Unix servers with glee back then. Why waste your time on an immature, low-end software package?

When the bust hit, VMware took off as a "server consolidation" miracle. To its credit, Microsoft became nervous in a hurry. It refused to support customers who ran Windows in a VMware virtual machine. It could see VMware starting to form basic, OS level relationships with customers.

Microsoft eventually caved on the support issue but didn't exactly embrace VMware as a rival/partner. Instead, Microsoft found it could not compete all that well against VMware with the Virtual Server product it acquired in the Connectix buy. So, it made Virtual Server free this year. On top of that, Microsoft announced that it will bundle "Viridian" with its operating system. Now, bundling a browser with a desktop operating system is one thing. Bundling a type of product that VMware sells for thousands of dollars per server is a much hairier beast - the kind of beast some judge or AG somewhere must be eyeing.

Lurking behind this nastiness is an element of the Microsoft and Xen relationship that we had forgotten about until a helpful reader sent in a reminder.

If you peek at this image, you'll see that a Microsoft researcher named Tim Harris once did quite a bit of work on the Xenoserver project, which turned into Cambridge University's Xen project. As it turns out, Microsoft gave Cambridge some funding for the Xen effort.

If you add this whole puzzle together, you realize that Microsoft got interested in virtualization long ago, primarily through the Xen research. Of course, Microsoft could never lower itself to pick up GPLed code. Instead, it decided to spend about five years hammering away on a Redmond clone of Xen.

Knowing that it can't compete in the market in the interim, Microsoft has played the old IBM trick of creating confusion. Don't go with VMware. Go with XenSource. That's who we like. Have a look at what they have to offer.

You can be sure that those niceties will end come 2008.

Until then, it's all open source press releases and love, love, love in Redmond - well, except for the VMware crowd. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.