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Choosing virtualization sidesJay Lyman, September 11, 2008 @ 7:01 pm ET
We’ve sure seen some interesting maneuvering on virtualization recently by the major OS players Microsoft, Novell and Red Hat. While Red Hat sought a bigger stake in virtualization with its $107m Qumranet acquisition, Microsoft and Novell were busy releasing the first fruit of their interoperability lab – native support and performance for Novell’s SUSE Linux as a more welcome guest OS on Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.
It’s interesting to see Novell so vigorously supporting Microsoft’s Hyper-V, and this may be part of what accompanies the partnership with Microsoft and its purchase of SUSE Linux coupons, but Novell is certainly not alone in its Hyper-V support. This is also a logical place for Microsoft and Novell to build on their promise of Linux-Windows interoperability. However, it may raise questions about the impact to the other virtualization technology that has figured prominently in Novell’s SUSE Linux for the last couple of years: Xen. Novell insists Xen is its hypervisor of choice and it remains committed to the virtualization software and project. In fact, as Novell seeks to make good on its promise to deliver some of its collaboration with Microsoft back to the greater Linux community, Xen may very well be the place it does so. At the same time, when asked about Red Hat’s Qumranet buy, one Novell executive responded by touting Xen’s ecosystem, which has indeed matured dramatically since Novell first included it in its enterprise Linux more than two years ago.
Red Hat has also affirmed its commitment to supporting Xen as well, even while it was announcing its $100m+ investment in, ahem, another virtualiation technology and company. Nevertheless, Red Hat also realizes the time, effort and maturation that it has taken for Xen to get where it is. In fact, that was one of the drivers for the Qumranet deal, according to one company official who says Red Hat knew it had to get something that was already underway, yet could speed and spread Red Hat’s presence in virtualization. Qumranet and KVM may be the ticket, but the lone Linux vendor will have formidable challenges in its OS rivals Microsoft and Novell, as well as the ‘virtualization only’ vendors (VMware and Citrix) that Red Hat is aiming at with its new acquisition.
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