Posted by: Sid Smith
Microsoft has recently launched an initiative through it’s interoperability division to prove Hyper-V can compete in the Linux realm. Microsoft has partnered with Novell to provide Hyper-V support for SUSE Linux (SLES 10). Expanding on this support Novell has built a Systems Center Configuration manager Management Pack for SLES 10. This management pack is compatible with the SCOM 2007 R2 Release Candidate with hopes to be GA by the end of this year.
Currently Microsoft has Linux Integration Components for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V Microsoft states that these are drivers that enable synthetic device support for supported Linux Virtual machines. Currently there is only support for SLES 10 and no hopes of support for other distros in the near future. That leads to the question; Why not call it Suse Linux Integration components? The Linux Integration components are actually more of an adapter that translates the XEN calls originally intended for use with the XEN hypervisor to Hyper-V hypercalls. Hmmm why can’t this be the case for all XEN supported Linux Distributions? Oh and if you want mouse support head on over to the CITRIX XEN site to get the drivers because they are not included in Microsoft’s Linux Integration Components.
The answer to that question is really very simple. Politics. Due to disagreements between Microsoft and some of the major Open Source Linux distribution Microsoft chooses not to provide this functionality to it customers. The plan is convince it’s customers to migrate away from the other distributions and on to SLES 10. Why you ask? For two main benefits. The first benefit would be the ability to purchase SLES 10 support credits from Microsoft at a steep discount and to have only one entity to point the finger at when something doesn’t work. Microsoft customers who purchase these credits will have one support number to call where Microsoft and Novell will work together to solve your issues.
The second benefit is not getting sued. That’s right by running SLES 10 you are protected from your “Commercial” Linux provider be sued for Patent infringements by Microsoft. Microsoft and Novell held a press release stating they wouldn’t sue non-commercial and individual open source developers, but they certainly can still sue “Commercial” Linux distributors such as Red Hat, SlackWare, BSD, etc…. So if you Virtualize with Microsoft and run SUSE Linux you don’t have to worry about getting left holding he bag if Microsoft decides to sue.
I’m thinking Steve Ballmer watched to many episodes of the Sopranos because that sounds like legalized extortion to me. I like to pretend that we can all just get along. Personally I am a huge fan of virtualization and I don’t discriminate. I believe in a world where all hypervisors are treated equal and by equal I mean choose whichever flavor you like and be able to run whatever OS you choose with the performance and support you require. I support and defend all walks of virtualizaiton; VMware, Hyper-V, or XEN I will be more than happy to work with any of these products, but will our customers?
Customers demand flexibility and solid support. Limiting their options and not being flexible does not seem like a bullet proof strategy to me. Lately there has been a lot of press around Hyper-V and vSpere. Microsoft claims vSphere is 5 times the cost of Hyper-v and VMware claims vSpere is much less expensive if you look at the cost per vm. In the end the reality of the situation is you get what you pay for. VMware vSphere is feature reach and supports many more operating systems especially when it comes to Linux than Microsoft and it is no secret that ESX/vSphere can support much higher consolidation ratios.
The real question is would you be willing to migrate to SLES linux for the promise of not being sued, unified technical support as well as cost savings? Remember those cost savings come with a price and that price is the lack of features and flexibility. Chime in post some comments I would really like to hear your thoughts on this.