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Microsoft supports rival SWsoft by answering the phone

'Is that you, Serguei?'

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Microsoft continues to make nice with non-VMware entities in the server virtualization market. The software maker this week, for example, firmed up a support deal with SWsoft that will see its rival's customers gain access to Microsoft's own army of Windows Server experts.

Under the terms of the arrangement, SWsoft will keep providing support for its own Virtuozzo software - a product used to carve up Linux and Windows servers into numerous partitions. But, if a Windows issue crops up, SWsoft can now tap Microsoft for 24/7 support and then try and help out its customers with a fix.

"SWsoft will continue as the direct link to customers with the added benefits of Microsoft support and expertise," said Serguei Beloussov, SWsoft's assertive CEO. "We're committed to expanding the breadth and functionality of our virtualization products for Windows and we are pleased to cooperate more closely with Microsoft for our customers’ benefit."

Is this support agreement a huge deal? Um, no. But you knew that already.

It is, however, another sign that Microsoft is willing to get along with other players in the virtualization game - most notably XenSource - if that will help the companies give clear market leader VMware a bit of trouble.

Microsoft is in the midst of overhauling its server virtualization software, as it has a less than competitive product available for free at the moment. Eventually - please, please don't hold your breath - Microsoft will release the fresh virtualization code via an update to Longhorn Server.

When that day arrives, the beasty from Redmond may be less comfortable helping out rivals. In the meantime, though, it would prefer to lessen VMware's clout in the market by pushing customers anywhere besides the EMC subsidiary in Palo Alto. ®

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