Last week, I wrote a story about Sun’s upcoming xVM virtualization offerings, and in that story, I quoted Sun director of Solaris marketing Dan Roberts as saying that Microsoft does not officially support Windows or its applications running as guests under VMware. “There is no official support,” he unequivocally said.
Not so, countered VMware, pointing to a couple of Microsoft Knowledge Base articles on Microsoft’s support site. For example, one such article says “For Microsoft customers who have a Premier-level support agreement, Microsoft will use commercially reasonable efforts to investigate potential issues with Microsoft software running in conjunction with non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software,” a VMware spokesperson pointed out.
However, the KB article itself also explicity states that customers without Premier level support enjoy no such assurances. For those shops, “Microsoft will require the issue to be reproduced independently from the non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software. Where the issue is confirmed to be unrelated to the non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software, Microsoft will support its software in a manner that is consistent with support provided when that software is not running in conjunction with non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software.”
In other words, Microsoft supports its software running on third-party virtualization software, but not really. More to the point, whereas it may be making “commercially reasonable efforts” at support today, will it always? A “commercially reasonable effort” is a very subjective notion indeed — one which may change dramatically the closer we get to a shipping version of Microsoft’s own virtualization platform, Viridian. Or is that too cynical of me?
Personally, I’m curious to hear how support for Microsoft OSes and apps is playing out in your VMware shop. How has it changed over the months and years? Do you worry that Microsoft will use support as the stick to get people to switch to Viridian? If and when they do, what would it take for you to go along? Feel free to leave a comment, or if you’d rather respond in private, send me an email.