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Microsoft and Red Hat Team Up On Virtualization

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the don't-go-the-way-of-the-novell-bird dept.

Microsoft 168

mjasay writes "For years Microsoft has insisted that open-source vendors acknowledge its patent portfolio as a precursor to interoperability discussions. Today, Microsoft shed that charade and announced an interoperability alliance with Red Hat for virtualization. The nuts-and-bolts of the agreement are somewhat pedantic, providing for Red Hat to validate Windows Server guests to be supported on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization technologies, and other technical support details. But the real crux of the agreement is what isn't there: patents. Red Hat has long held that open standards and open APIs are the key to interoperability, even as Microsoft insisted patents play a critical role in working together, and got Novell to buy in. Today, Red Hat's vision seems to have won out with an interoperability deal heavy on technical integration and light on lawyers."

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It is a good sign (4, Insightful)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874855)

another step forward for Open Source and a sign that Microsoft can adapt.

Re:It is a good sign (2, Insightful)

Caboosian (1096069) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874915)

More like another step closer to the lion's den for open source. Embrace, extend, extinguish.

Re:It is a good sign (2, Insightful)

thomascameron (686477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875159)

Had RHT entered into the BS agreement that NOVL did, I would agree. In this case RHT stuck to their guns and MSFT blinked.

Re:It is a good sign (3, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875885)

IF Red Hat had squat for mature virtualization, it might make a difference. RH is behind, way behind, and it's a nice gesture, good for the press, and RH has lost out to VMWare, Novell's Xen product line, Citrix's XenServer, and even xVM/VB.

It sounds sweet, but it's a meaningless sort of announcement in the face of a ton of mature competition.

Re:It is a good sign (1)

chiui (1120973) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877107)

While I MAY agree that their current solution are not so mature, still they are very powerful, extendable and generic. Given enough (not so much) time they can compete and overtake proprietary solutions. See http://libvirt.org/ [libvirt.org]

Re:It is a good sign (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877339)

It's possible that libvirt might mature, might evolve, might go some place. Like all 'marketshares', it's late, buggy, not widely supported by communities and is unlikely to gain significant groundswell as there are at least five viable competitors already at work and maturing. I like RH, its community, and its other significant projects. But it ignored virtualization until it's now a game of serious catch-up where others have invested long and hard. The Microsoft cooperation is significant, but given the competition, it's almost moot, even if it's free. xVM/VB and the Xen derivatives are all essentially free and supported. VMWare's basic kit is free, although everyone wants to charge for the 'extras', even though those extras are incredibly important.

Is Xen proprietary? Only the above mentioned pieces which equate with libvirt. So 'compete and overtake' is going to be still tougher yet. RH has lost this one, sadly. Microsoft need only flip a few switches and everyone's back to the drawing board. Its cooperation is onerous, yet it's still the one that people use whether that's good or bad.

I wish RH luck. They'll need plenty of it. And so far, they've not been virtualization leaders in any manner of measure.

Re:It is a good sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26876031)

Ohhhhhhhh stock symbols. Fancy!

Re:It is a good sign (1, Insightful)

mr_da3m0n (887821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877963)

Mod me off-topic, but why do you always refer to companies using stock symbols? Is there a particular reason, especially since the article has nothing to do with stocks at all?

Re:It is a good sign (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875389)

Yes, that's so totally logical... first there is no interoperability, then Microsoft creates one to destroy it again.

Dude, I curse at everything Microsoft is doing and the sooner they go bankrupt the better, but how can you embrace, extend and extinquish interoperability? :S

There's not even patents involved. Do you even have a clue whatsoever about what you're talking about???

Microsoft creates one to destroy it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26876951)

You obviously don't know your tech history. Don't you know there used to be a demi-god name Sauron that forged rings of power and gave them to the peoples of Middle-Earth? Yet, in secret, he forged One Great Ring to rule them all...and in the darkness, bind them.

Re:Microsoft creates one to destroy it (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26878093)

Ah yes... and afterwards came that ring bearer. What was his name again? Hmmm, I can remember. RMS, you wouldn't still have that Proprietary Software ring I once gave you?

Re:It is a good sign (2, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875445)

He he....

No man, this means microsoft is now on its knees. And Novell is proven to have done it the wrong way and now look like idiots.

A great day for FOSS!

Re:It is a good sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26876713)

It's simple.. Microsoft really really really really really REALLY wants to control the hypervisor. The hypervisor is a key part of trusted computing and DRM (DRM being control of digital data - which includes musc, video, documents AND software).

Re:It is a good sign (5, Insightful)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874919)

...or, more than likely, this [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It is a good sign (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874921)

another step forward for Open Source and a sign that Microsoft can adapt.

That's no moon!

Re:It is a good sign (5, Informative)

von_rick (944421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875023)

No moon? Then where does Moonlight [mono-project.com] come from?

That's no moon . . . (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875109)

it's a Space Station!

Re:It is a good sign (2, Funny)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875547)

Assuming that Moonlight is the Death Star...

Good point!

Re:It is a good sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26875929)

Assuming that Moonlight is the Death Star...

It's worse. There is a reason that it's called Moonlight! [dotancohen.com]

Re:It is a good sign (1)

silent_artichoke (973182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876079)

Death Star Light just doesn't sound menacing enough?

Or to quote Woody Allen (4, Funny)

wsanders (114993) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875481)

"The lion and the lamb will lay down together, but the lamb won't get much sleep."

Re:It is a good sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26876187)

"That's no moon, it's your mother!"

Re:It is a good sign (5, Interesting)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875131)

No, it means Red Hat sees a market that customers would like to run Windows as a VM under Linux. It just means they'll validate each OS works as a VM under the other's Hypervisor, nothing more. No licenses, no patents. I can see running Windows under Linux as a VM (BSOD only takes down the VM and bringing up a new VM takes seconds..not a 3 minute reboot) if you MUST support something that is Windows legacy but have chosen to go Linux with RH Virtualization in the Data Center. Why you would want to run Linux under the MS Hypervisor is the strange question, unless you just wanted a Linux "sandbox" for some reason. I suspect to get the MS stamp of approval for Windows under Linux they required the reciprocal agreement from RH.

Re:It is a good sign (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26875739)

I can see running Windows under Linux as a VM (BSOD only takes down the VM and bringing up a new VM takes seconds..not a 3 minute reboot)

Until Linux crashes with a Kernel Panic. I'm joking of course. For that to happen there would have to be bugs in the code [kernel.org] , bad hardware, or poorly written drivers.

Re:It is a good sign (2, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875901)

Why you would want to run Linux under the MS Hypervisor is the strange question, unless you just wanted a Linux "sandbox" for some reason. I suspect to get the MS stamp of approval for Windows under Linux they required the reciprocal agreement from RH.

Its not that strange. My first home linux servers ran as VMs under windows, primarily for comfort reasons. I've since gotten comfortable enough that its now linux on linux.

And at work, we have a linux spamassassin VM running on a windows server, simply because that was the simplest deployment option. (We already had the light load Windows Server. Sure we could have installed a linux host, and then run both the Windows Server and spamassassin as VMs under it, (and we would have if we were building the box from scratch), but there wasn't any real point doing that given the windows server was already running just fine.)

And on the desktop... you want the host system to be your primary OS, and VM the others. I personally need windows enough that it would just be silly to run Linux and then VM XP or Vista. And I don't foresee being able to flip them around anytime soon.

Re:It is a good sign (4, Insightful)

stevey (64018) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876265)

That solution is quite interesting, because its the sort of thing that a lot of people were expecting to happen - virtual images being used as black-box applications.

I love the idea of being able to download a webserver in a box, or a caching HTTP proxy server. There are many other applications which would be nice to see provided like this. Of course in my case I would be hosting them on Linux, but I guess whatever host machine you use is irrelevant so long as you understand it and can support it.

Of course I'm a little biased when it comes to spam filtering [mail-scanning.com] , but I hope the idea of custom VM images catchs on more generally.

There are downsides such as the overhead of emulating a whole machine for a single service, but I'm sure the benefits outweigh them if you have spare host capacity (*2 for redundancy)

I'm curious though, did you configure the guest yourself, or find it as a pre-rolled virtual machine image?

Re:It is a good sign (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877047)

I'm curious though, did you configure the guest yourself, or find it as a pre-rolled virtual machine image?

I ultimately rolled it myself. Partly as a learning exercise, and partly because none of the pre-rolled VMs were quite what I needed. And I didn't know enough to reconfigure them to work the way I needed. (Although now, having rolled my own, I probably could customize a pre-rolled VM.)

There are downsides such as the overhead of emulating a whole machine for a single service, but I'm sure the benefits outweigh them if you have spare host capacity (*2 for redundancy)

Yeah, the overhead of emulating a whole machine is the downside, but the advantages in terms of flexibility, service isolation, and simplicity are clear.

Re:It is a good sign (5, Funny)

kamochan (883582) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876549)

I've since gotten comfortable enough that its now linux on linux.

LOL action :D

Re:It is a good sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26876255)

Why you would want to run Linux under the MS Hypervisor is the strange question, unless you just wanted a Linux "sandbox" for some reason.

Probably for the same reason that you would want to run linux under the VMWare Hypervisor, or the Xen Hypervisor, or the KVM Hypervisor, or the Virtualbox Hypervisor...

Hypervisors are a commodity. If your Hypervisor infrastructure is Hyper-V, you want to run your entire virtual infrastructure on Hyper-V. You don't want to have to learn two of three different hypervisors, each with different requirements and tuning regimens, to be able to support your environment. Likewise of VMWare, or whatever else you might be using as your Hypervisor.

Re:It is a good sign (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877391)

Not normal for me to reply to an AC..but Hypervisors are NOT a commodity. Commodity basically says it's all interchangeable as they meet some specified standard of performance within a tolerance (for example #1 Wheat). I don't think you are going to be swapping VMWare, Zen and Hyper-V among themselves with no problems.

This has got to be bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26874863)

Three words for you: embrace, extend, extinguish.

Re:This has got to be bad. (2, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874975)

Don't worry... satan will not let this work, he doesn't do cold.

Re:This has got to be bad. (-1, Flamebait)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875331)

This story is tagged 'hellfrozeover' and I get a flamebait mod? Cool!!!!! Awesome waste of a mod point. I think I'm up to 5 or 6 flamebaits now :) Flamebait being the most obvious mod mode for anyone invoking the name of satan. Doubly awesome :)

Re:This has got to be bad. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26875527)

Just a tip: complaining about how you were moderated will only invite undesirable moderation on your reply.

Re:This has got to be bad. (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875769)

Well, okay. Humor me... read the reply again slowly, thinking to yourself that I must be writing with tongue in cheek.

Re:This has got to be bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26877917)

Well, okay. Humor me... get that idiot from behind your keyboard to stop posting.

Take *that* Novell! (0, Troll)

thomascameron (686477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874875)

Yet another proof point that MSFT and Novell are full of it about the patent agreements. Interesting that a giant like MSFT is admitting how important Red Hat is to their customer base.

Re:Take *that* Novell! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26875519)

Nope. Microsoft is neutralizing Linux vendors one by one. By doing these deals with them, they turn the community against the distro and make them dependent on MS.

Re:Take *that* Novell! (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875633)

NOT THE SAME DEAL!

Jeeze.

Re:Take *that* Novell! (4, Insightful)

thomascameron (686477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875655)

How does this qualify as "neutralizing?" RHT gave up nothing. F/OSS doesn't suffer at all. This is no different from making RHEL work with any other third party closed source technology like Oracle or SAP. RHT and MSFT have simply recognized that there is a need for this interoperability, but RHT basically forced MSFT's hand and MSFT backed down. This is, if anything, a huge victory for F/OSS.

Re:Take *that* Novell! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26877387)

Absolutely. At work they wanted to virtualize RH on Hyper-V but there was no support. Why was that when SLES worked fine? This is RedHat not caving in. More power to them! Luckily we are gonna go VMWare at work so I don't have to deal with Hyper-V.

Et tu, RedHat? (0, Troll)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874887)

First SUSE, then you.

I hope this doesn't botch CEntOS.

Re:Et tu, RedHat? (5, Interesting)

thomascameron (686477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874959)

Read TFA. This agreement contains *none* of the bullshit IP limitations Novell agreed to when they sold out. In this case Red Hat and MSFT are only cooperating from a *technical* standpoint. RHT are not agreeing in any way that Linux owes MSFT any IP rights. This is amazing news and sticks a finger in the eye of Novell's sellout.

Re:Et tu, RedHat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26875835)

So maybe a relevant question is how long will Microsoft endure a cooperation that only has a small portion in its own favor? Guess only time will tell.

Re:Et tu, RedHat? (0, Redundant)

Kennon (683628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876003)

Read TFA.

Maybe you should take your own advice...about the original Novell MSFT agreement because Novell also never conceded or acknowledged any of Microsoft's IP claims in Linux either. In fact the language in the agreement specifically stated that Novell was not, and will never acknowledge any of MSFT's IP claims and in fact Novell has donated ALL of their Unix and Linux IP to the common defense of any Linux distributer who needs it to defend against attacks from Microsoft so stuff that in your pipe and smoke it Tommy. You and the OP should try to RTFA yourself before you comment and spread more FUD.

In fact Novell pretty much buried the only real threat to Linux in SCO. We are 3+ years on after the signing of the Novell/MSFT deal and there has been zero legal action by Ballmer and his cronies. Don't you think that if the Novell/MSFT deal was somehow some kind of trap for the GPL we would have seen something by now? Here we all are still holding our breath waiting for "the other shoe to drop" and there is nothing but the sound of a bunch of fear-mongers running around still looking for a cause because they can't find a constructive way to contribute to the Linux community.

Re:Et tu, RedHat? (3, Insightful)

init100 (915886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876909)

We are 3+ years on after the signing of the Novell/MSFT deal and there has been zero legal action by Ballmer and his cronies.

Nobody in the know were really worried about actual legal action. What people were actually worried about was that Microsoft's patent threats might be scaring away people from FOSS.

What the Novell/Microsoft deal primarily did was to lend credibility in the eyes of some people that to use many FOSS packages, you needed a patent license from Microsoft. The same applies to Linspire, Xandros, and the rest of those that actually signed patent deals with Microsoft over FOSS.

Re:Et tu, RedHat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26877905)

I think all this shows is that people have a genuine problem reading TFA, the Novell deal in NO WAY compromised any Linux users, and as the previous poster stated, Novell (and Groklaw) are responsible for Linux now being the free OS that it is without fear of litigation, add to that the sheer volume of IP Novell has donated with no caveats, and logic would say no-one could complain. But people will always have their own agenda and try to make a mountain of shit out of a pile of dirt. I think this is a reflection more on themselves than the non-issues they crow about.

Re:Et tu, RedHat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26875315)

From the actual, quite-short, readable article:
Are there other components of the deal that have not been disclosed yet?

No. The agreements are specific to establishing coordinated technical support for our mutual customers using server virtualization. The agreements have nothing to do with patents, and there are no patent rights or other open source licensing rights implications provided under these agreements. The agreements contain no financial clauses other than test fees for industry-standard certification and validation.

But I still don't understand... (4, Insightful)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874891)

...Why you would run Windows on top of Linux, given not only the stability history but also since now there are now FOSS alternatives for almost anything Windows can provide, without taking a huge hit to the "total cost of ownership".

On a lighter note, wonder what the VMware guys are thinking about all of this - it's basically the end of what has always been their niche, except for Parallels but they weren't as datacenter-ready as VMware and were established mainly to make virtualization software that can run OS/2.

Re:But I still don't understand... (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874951)

...Why you would run Windows on top of Linux, given not only the stability history but also since now there are now FOSS alternatives for almost anything Windows can provide, without taking a huge hit to the "total cost of ownership".

Two words: Microsoft Exchange.

Re:But I still don't understand... (0, Troll)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875065)

I take it you haven't seen the alternatives to exchange [intranetjournal.com] either, eh? And given the exchange license fiasco (every client needs a license), they look mighty attractive right now in this economy.

Re:But I still don't understand... (2, Informative)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876199)

Or, on the desktop, name any Adobe product - Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign._

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

iron-kurton (891451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876347)

But, but, GIMP! /Sarcasm

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876507)

Well played sir. I was waiting for that. :)

But, to be serious for a moment, Gimp is a fine piece of software, and its developers have every right to be proud of what they've created. But, alas, it still isn't Photoshop. We can only hope that they keep up their good work and eventually bridge the gap.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876685)

Photoshop is overrated. 90% of users don't use the functionality that everyone keeps saying GIMP is 'lacking'.

And don't talk to me about CMYK support or color profiles. GIMP has 'good enough' support for both of these.

And for the 10% that do use things like layer filters, let me ask you: Is it *really* worth the $699 Adobe wants for Photoshop CS4? (Answer: Only if you do this for a living and you spend most of your tube time in Photoshop.)

Re:But I still don't understand... (2, Insightful)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877089)

I didn't say that Photoshop isn't overrated, or that it isn't overpriced. I don't know that either of these allegations are true, but I wouldn't rule them out.

But, the fact is, and it sounds like you agree, that Photoshop has quite a few features that the Gimp doesn't, features that a number of us find useful. And even if I agree with you that 90% of users don't need these features, that leaves 10% of us who do.

And this is not to mention the rather shop-worn UI issue.

Again, I love the Gimp and have nothing but respect for the people who make it. I use it daily and would be the first in line to shake the developers' hands if they ever were to dethrone Photoshop as the king of photo-manipulation software. Its just that, today, they aren't there yet. Many tasks remain that are either only possible or much easier in Photoshop.

Re:But I still don't understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26877383)

The functionality is becoming less of an issue than is usability. The UI makes me shiver every time I attempt to use it -- it's disorganized, ugly, and nonsensical.

For those who live outside of the Fark Photoshop contests (ironic name, I know), Photoshop is absolutely worth every penny. Btw, once you start using layer filters, you will find you can't live without them.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

iron-kurton (891451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877273)

In lieu of your comment, I'd like to propose a name change to GINP (GINP Is Not Photoshop).

Seriously, I agree with you. There is definitely a lot of work ahead, namely in the UI department, although that is a discussion for another time and place...

Re:But I still don't understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26876575)

-1, Offtopic. TFA is about servers, not desktops.

Re:But I still don't understand... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26874987)

...Why you would run Windows on top of Linux, given not only the stability history but also since now there are now FOSS alternatives for almost anything Windows can provide,

No, there isn't. Perhaps there should be, but there isn't.

Re:But I still don't understand... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26875053)

...Why you would run Windows on top of Linux, given not only the stability history but also since now there are now FOSS alternatives for almost anything Windows can provide, without taking a huge hit to the "total cost of ownership".

The big need is for situations like this. The hospital where my wife works has RedHat based servers for imaging acquisition and viewing and MS/Cerner for business (booking etc). Getting effective integration for the two has been a PITA because of Microsoft. Hopefully this will change.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875589)

Ive a hospital customer exactly the same, but backwards: all office is a RH cluster. All clients are thin clients. The ERP is now windows (we had a perfectly working one in Mono, but someone thought this other thingie is better).

Our integration solution?

Make the RH boxen ldap backed, put samba on them and turn them PDC's. Then get the win2k server to join the domain and do some weird things to make it actually work without utter hogging.

THen we put rdesktop on the rh boxen and each user has an icon.

Presto: they click and auth with the windows box and use the app as if it were under linux. Files and printers are samba shared so all is cool.

We rock.

Re:But I still don't understand... (3, Interesting)

mmell (832646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875075)

Need to support proprietary applications? (MS Exchange comes screaming to mind)

Need to support MS Windows user base? (Terminal services, the setup my current employer uses to provide Windows desktops to technical services personnel; although we use VMWare for the task due to licensing issues with MS Windows/virtualization licensing issues)

Rapid prototyping/development/testing of new Windows technologies? (an appropriate initial hardware investment means no cost associated with purchasing hardware for short-term initiatives)

There are more. Much as I dislike MicroSoft's products in general, they do have the one desktop more employees are likely to be able to use without first being trained.

Re:But I still don't understand... (3, Interesting)

deque_alpha (257777) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875313)

It's because of the "almost". There are a lot of people who, right or wrong, believe that they can only get by with whatever Windows-only "Program X" provides. For these people, "close" is not "close enough". When the gearheads who like Linux need to support these applications, virtualizing a Windows instance on Linux makes a lot of sense.

Even for a pure MS shop, virtualization introduces a lot of flexibility, so that too would be a reason to virtualize.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876385)

We're virtualising at work. We have sixty servers running a mix of Solaris 9, Solaris 10, RHEL/CentOS and Windows (for one proprietary app that's intrinsic to the platform ... we run it under Wine where we can). Some boxes are flat-out, some boxes are 8-core beasts running one Java program because it won't play nice having multiple instances on the same box. We have 2.5 TB of disk space, of which about 500 GB is used. Similar stats for memory. "We are not Rackspace" is the catchphrase for why virtualising it onto a few blade servers is a highly desirable idea.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875443)

You said it yourself - almost anything. When that word is no longer needed, you'll have a very solid point indeed.

Re:But I still don't understand... (2, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875545)

Because people, especially bussiness people that sign checks, still like (or dont know any better) some MS products.

Some other people have vested investment in MS based things and they are not going (nor they should if the industry can prevent it by DOING ITS JOB) to spend it all over again so that they can feel nice about themselves.

Re:But I still don't understand... (5, Insightful)

talksinmaths (199235) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875563)

Why you would run Windows on top of Linux, given...there are now FOSS alternatives for almost anything Windows can provide

Even if that were true, in practice companies don't just swap out production environments because alternatives potentially exist. What works well for you may be problematic in even a slightly different environment. Others have mentioned apps for which OSS interoperability isn't there yet, and I'd add Group Policies and other AD centric tech to the list (although I admittedly haven't checked out recent versions of Samba lately, so maybe I'm wrong on that). I'm as big of an OSS advocate as there is, but part of advocating effectively is knowing where limitations exist and dealing with them rationally rather than sugar-coating them. I agree with the gist of what you're saying though, and there are a lot of shops that could lower TCO by exploring the alternatives.

Re:But I still don't understand... (2, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875995)

There are a lot of "niche" products that run on Windows without an open source alternative. Take a look at "The Raiser's Edge" It is the number one fundraising software in the world and is used by non-profits of all shapes and sizes, from the Red Cross on down. There isn't a FOSS equivalent. For the little niche world I work in, take a look at The Museum System. It is the number one collections management database used by museums all over the world, from the Tate, to the Guggenheim, Smithsonian, etc. Again, there isn't an open source equivalent. Those are just two examples from my current job. When I was consulting, I ran into all sorts of little programs without an Open Source equivalent. A client of mine was in the waste management business, there were three different software packages target to that industry and all of them ran on Windows. Another client was a city government and their licensing / permit database was Windows based.

All of the above mentioned softwares could be recreated in open source, but doing so is an up hill battle. The companies that use them don't have the revenue streams to do the development in house. Potential developers aren't going to target small niches where they have to reinvent the wheel because the competitors already have a huge head start.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876403)

Handy hint: Wine runs quite a lot of this sort of niche vertical-market app very nicely and has powerful ambitions to run the rest. Worth a try.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877493)

I've run into some problems with Wine in client-server application architectures. If the data and application are on the same box it runs pretty well. As soon as it has to emulate the network stack it doesn't work so well.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877723)

Yeah, the DCE-RPC stuff doesn't work at all. Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton is working on it right now, but it's a pretty radical architectural addition.

Re:But I still don't understand... (3, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876091)

...Why you would run Windows on top of Linux, given not only the stability history but also since now there are now FOSS alternatives for almost anything Windows can provide, without taking a huge hit to the "total cost of ownership".

No. There aren't. Period. There is no FOSS alterantive for LOTs of things, and even when there is switching is cost prohibitive and pointless.

accounting: nope. And migrating to a linux alternative even if one existed would be monstrously expensive for any business of size.

photoshop/illustrator: nope. sure there is the gimp etc, which is all fine and good. But you need to integrate with a workflow where you are exchanging files with other businesses etc you have to use the tools they are using.

microsoft access, filemaker pro, 4D... millions of highly custom applications exist for these to fit business needs. Even if an alternative "application building framework" exists on Linux, the cost of migrating and reimplementing these applications is prohibative. Companies that rely on these won't even consider switching until FM, 4D, etc run on linux natively.

sql server - lots of businesses rely heavily on this. And even if postgresql or mysql, etc could do the job, again, its a massive amount of work to migrate from one to the other.

exchange - nothing needs to be said.

visual studio - sure linux alternatives exist, and you can even just use vi or notepad, but VS2008 is REALLY good.

The above isn't a small list of niche products or categories that only affect a handful of businesses. Millions of businesses rely on multiple of them.

Oh, and at home, there are games blocking a lot of people from leaving windows.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

spazimodo (97579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876213)

I don't know why you'd run Windows on top of Linux (or vice-versa) outside of test-dev (a sales laptop running a 3-tier application on 3 VMs via VMWare Player or Workstation for example) Server-based hypervisors run on bare metal.

This is certainly a big step forward for what are otherwise niche also-ran hypervisors. I'm certainly glad to see competition to VMWare, but there's still nothing that actually comes close to it in terms of real-world performance. (specifically stability and manageability)

One feature that it would be interesting to see incorporated into server virtualization products is storage abstraction and network RAID. Right now you can do it with a VM (LeftHand's software iSCSI SAN or Openfiler) but it would be cool if that were a built-in feature of the hypervisor. Currently if you're not using shared storage (SAN or NAS) virtualization presents some pretty serious risks if you suffer hardware failure. Instead of hardware failure taking down one server now it takes down five. If one of the competing virtualization products gave you the ability to mirror local storage between two physical servers, that would be a killer feature for branch/small office settings where the budget doesn't justify a SAN. I don't see VMWare doing this because they don't want to piss off their expensive SAN hawking partners or parent company.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

deKernel (65640) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876589)

I think I can give you one good reason to run Windows Servers as clients is that you can move those clients sessions between machines pretty quickly if you are having hardware issues. Do you pay a price for performance? Yes you do, but more times than not, the performance loss is minimal. This cuts down the shear number of backup hardware systems you would require.

Now I am not taking into account things like V-Motion from VMWare which do this with even more ease.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877841)

If one of the competing virtualization products gave you the ability to mirror local storage between two physical servers, that would be a killer feature for branch/small office settings where the budget doesn't justify a SAN.

XtraVirt Virtual SAN [xtravirt.com] is free and does exactly what you want.

Yes, it runs as a VM, but it can run as a VM on multiple ESX servers and provide redundancy and mirroring. You essentially allocate almost all the local storage on the ESX machine to the XVS VM, then carve out iSCSI LUNs from it, which the ESX server uses as storage for all the other VMs.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876237)

but also since now there are now FOSS alternatives for almost anything Windows can provide

Nope, sorry. Not even close. Maybe you've been reading Slashdot a bit too much?

Re:But I still don't understand... (2, Interesting)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877031)

Why *wouldn't* you run windows on Linux if you had the chance?!

From a seasoned VMware ESX admin speaking from an operational standpoint;

First, I'll explain a few things. Servers today are so mind-bogglingly powerful that even with virtualisation overhead they're easily capable of providing more than enough grunt for hordes of enterprise crapware that, due to shoddy programming or testing, would otherwise be sitting on $7000-worth of barely-utilised tin since the support agreement stipulates "we refuse to support you if you install so much as a text editor on the same machine" - I'm sure anyone else in any SME will agree that this sort of thing is rife. Throwing patch cycles to the side, my number one problem with these legions of power-sucking high-maintenance windows servers is shoddy drivers/firmware.

ESX, itself a highly specialised Linux-based OS, builds on Linux's rock-solid hardware stability and abstracts away everything so that all windows sees is a unified blend of generic hardware, for which VMware provides their own set of (high quality) drivers, plus some old ones that have worked in windows since the year dot - think OSX on steroids. The ESX boxes basically have the highest uptimes in our entire organisation, plus clustering them is an absolute cinch. Large scale storage is provided by a fibre-attached EMC SAN, which coincidentally also runs a highly specialised Linux-based OS providing CIFS, NFS or dedicated block devices (LUNs). Tools such as P2V make cloning a physical box into a virtual machine a point'n'click operation limited only by your network throughput, and you can even do nifty things like resize that 5% used 137GB filesystem into a 10GB virtual disc.

Furthermore, thanks to LVM-alikes, you can take an instant snapshot of a system. This allows you to do things like make a snapshot, install patch XYZ, do regression testing and whatnot and roll back if things are unsatisfactory. With windows' reputation for patches not being entirely reliable, this is an utter godsend for development and testing.

So at the end of the day, running windows on top of gets you:
Better "hardware" reliability
The ability to consolidate X U's/Y Watts worth of servers into (X-n) U's/(Y-n) Watts worth of servers, leading to lower overall datacentre expenditure
Built-in clustering for people with shared storage
Built-in failover
Much more robust and/or cheaper methods for development, testing, patch management

The only downside* to ESX is cost - it's not cheap. And an alliance between RH (pretty much the corporate face of Linux, especially for windows shops) and Microsoft is likely to send the cost for ESX down before the fruits of it's labour become evident. As long as TFA is correct that there's no IP ownership bollocks going on, this is a win for everybody.

* Not to say that ESX isn't without its flaws, but it certainly has less than most apps you run into in this business. I've heard that VMware is a very much engineer-driven company, and that's true from my POV.

Disclaimer: I don't work for VMware, but when I can dispense with 96U's worth of servers, shave 8kW of our datacentre power budget, increase availability plus reduce downtime at no cost in performance then you colour me impressed. There's no reason why a competing VM system can't do the same thing.

Re:But I still don't understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26877597)

tl;dr

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877789)

Well, I hope this somewhat shorter post won't not waste any more of your precious time, Mr. AC :)

Re:But I still don't understand... (2, Informative)

neowolf (173735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877189)

One word: Outlook

There just isn't anything in Linux that comes close in a corporate environment, period. I could have everyone in my office on Linux and/or Macs if it wasn't for that. It doesn't run (very well or at-all) under Wine or CrossOver, and there is no native Linux alternative that works reliably (or at all with Exchange 2007).

Evolution tried, and failed. I don't really blame them though- Microsoft will probably NEVER release their internals for the Outlook/Exchange marriage, and will continually change the way they communicate just to throw off any competition that tries. Microsoft knows that Outlook is one of the only things keeping many businesses from moving to Linux right now, especially after the Vista fiasco.

That said- I would much rather see Red Hat support existing solutions that already work well in Linux, like xVM/VirtualBox, than sign any kind of agreement with Microsoft. Microsoft's visualization solutions are garbage compared to VMWare and xVM. Sure- it would be nice if they supported Linux, but who would really want to run Linux on a Windows host except to "play" with it? When I'm running virtual machines- I like to have the host OS be rock-solid, not the other way around.

So- a lot of Linux people run Windows VMs just to use Outlook, because their home office tells them they have to. There are also still a few other Windows apps that there are no good Linux alternatives for, but that list keeps getting shorter. There are also still brain-dead companies that insist on writing all of their online applications using .NET and M$ DRM. If you are stuck dealing with such companies- a Windows VM is a necessity.

Re:But I still don't understand... (1)

hachete (473378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877651)

I used to manage 10 windows machines, some old, some new. Each had their own box. I wanted to buy one big box, and run all the build OS's - plus Linux - on the same box. Voila: (in theory) no new machines, just load up another OS on the multi-core and away we go.

I wonder if MS are using this as a way of getting at Xen and VMware?

Re:But I still don't understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26877739)

Why you would run Windows on top of Linux

Three words: Proprietary windows applications.

(Have to deal with two of them myself. Both are server apps. No GUI, just text console. Written in C++. Why the vendor can't be bothered to port them to UNIX / Linux / BSD I will probably never understand. They just don't. And my company depends on these two apps, among many others. Only these two require Windows. So there we are.)

Red Hat naming scheme. (0, Offtopic)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874945)

Does Red Hat still name the releases after items in the game Tribes? I haven't used RH since v5.2 (shrike) If I remember correctly.

Re:Red Hat naming scheme. OT (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26876567)

Does Red Hat still name the releases after items in the game Tribes? I haven't used RH since v5.2 (shrike) If I remember correctly.

I thought Shrike was named after the Shrike from the Hyperion novels.

The Thorn that is Virtualisation (5, Informative)

segedunum (883035) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875099)

Virtualisation has been a bit of a curveball that Microsoft hasn't liked for some time. It gets people off the hardware and upgrade churn, whilst sill upgrading their real hardware, and allows people to run previous versions of Windows and applications pretty much indefinitely. It also gives the potential to outflank Windows technology by bypassing it in the virtual machine itself and surrounding Windows with non-Windows systems. Additionally, ubiquitous, freely available virtualisation is going to end up ruling, and ultimately that means an open source host running something like KVM. I suppose Microsoft had to try and do something. They want to try and get into all of this somehow, and I suppose it does mean they sell more Windows licenses and Red Hat gets to run Windows certified on their platforms which should please some people.

It's a real kick in the teeth for Novell. This is a perfectly straightforward deal of certifying each other's systems on their virtual platforms that Novell couldn't get right. In practice, Microsoft is providing no help whatsoever to Novell in running Windows on their virtual platform (which I don't think Red Hat is expecting itself really) and they sold themselves down the river by agreeing to some elaborate coupon scheme that saw SLES servers totally surrounded by installations of Windows Server and AD domains. I don't think they even realised what they'd signed up to. At least Red Hat gets some marketable press out of this without conceding anything.

Re:The Thorn that is Virtualisation (0)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875817)

Maybe I interpreted the article incorrectly, but I don't think this has to do with AD authentication specifically. It sounds more like your Windows VM will be able to log into your Linux host server using Linux IDs and your Linux workstation on your MS Hypervisor VM will be able to log into the computer using your Windows IDs or maybe even Active Directory through Windows hosts. It sounds more like a beneficial move to Microsoft than it does to Linux. If I read it right, in order to use Active Directory in Linux, you'd have to host Linux clients on Microsoft servers. I don't see that many businesses logging into their Windows machine using Linux IDs... I hope I'm wrong though.

Site Licenses (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875977)

It gets people off the hardware and upgrade churn, whilst sill upgrading their real hardware, and allows people to run previous versions of Windows and applications pretty much indefinitely.

Does this really matter to MS though? I've worked at two types of companies. The small ones, handled licensing on a computer by computer basis, and tried to keep it all documentation manually. These folks never had any problems with forced upgrades, as they new to buy computers without the OS, and also didn't have large enough IT needs to bother with virtualisation.

The larger ones found this to be too cumbersome and risky and instead have site licenses with Microsoft, and the amount that MS gets paid has absolutely nothing to do with which computers are running which version of Windows or Word - heck at my current company even OS X, Linux and Sun machines are included in the count of computers for the license. So given that does Microsoft really care whether folks are running older versions of windows, as long as all the VM instances are being counted?

Re:The Thorn that is Virtualisation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26877013)

Virtualisation has been a bit of a curveball that Microsoft hasn't liked for some time. It gets people off the hardware and upgrade churn, whilst sill upgrading their real hardware, and allows people to run previous versions of Windows and applications pretty much indefinitely. It also gives the potential to outflank Windows technology by bypassing it in the virtual machine itself and surrounding Windows with non-Windows systems. Additionally, ubiquitous, freely available virtualisation is going to end up ruling, and ultimately that means an open source host running something like KVM. I suppose Microsoft had to try and do something. They want to try and get into all of this somehow, and I suppose it does mean they sell more Windows licenses and Red Hat gets to run Windows certified on their platforms which should please some people.

I'm not sure where you get your information, but Microsoft has been working in the virtualization space for many years. They bought Connectix over 5 years ago, which led to their VirtualPC and VirtualServer products. They have been working on Hyper-V (a bare-metal hypervisor that competes with ESX) for several years. It was officially launched at the beginning of the third quarter of 2008, and by the end of quarter they had already gained 27% market share. The next version of Hyper-V (Hyper-V R2) is currently in beta and slated to be released later this year, and will include even more features. Microsoft is currently the #2 vendor of platform virtualization solutions, and is gaining on VMWare quickly.

They have incorporated support for Hyper-V virtualization in their operating systems going back to Windows 2000 SP4, and are making a major push into all areas of virtualization. In fact, of all of the virtualization vendors they are the only one pushing a true 360 strategy that includes not just platform virtualization, but also application virtualization (via their App-V/Softgrid product, the market leader in this space), presentation virtualization, and desktop virtualization.

Your claim that Microsoft is doing it "to try and do something" is ludicrous when you look at the level to which Microsoft is already involved in the market.

This is simply a continuation of Microsofts Server Virtualization Validation Platform (SVVP). Basically they certify their products to run on other people's hypervisors and the hypervisor vendors certify that their hypervisor can support Windows. As long as you're running on an SVVP platform then Microsoft will support your installation. If you're not running on an SVVP platform and you call Microsoft support, they'll tell you to rebuild it on physical hardware or on an SVVP platform and reproduce the error. That's all this announcement is.

does this mean a boycottredhat.com web site? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26875101)

does this mean a boycottredhat.com web site?

Re:does this mean a boycottredhat.com web site? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26875741)

LOL, no.

Different deal, different consequences.

2 minute summary of Hyper-v Vs Xen Vs VMware (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26875203)

Theres an interesting read over at the 360 blog here [blogspot.com] ., which covers the debate/fight between these 3 giants quite nicely.

AG

That Windows VM validation script in full... (1)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875303)

#!/bin/perl
print STDERR "Buggy as hell.\nRFC compliance limited.\n"

Red Hat = Microsoft (0, Flamebait)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875457)

It isn't particularly surprising that they would coordinate with Red Hat of all companies. After all, RHEL clearly exemplifies Red Hat's growing, Microsoft-emulating philosophy of "Give us the money, STFU, eat whatever dogfood we're shoveling, and love it. Oh and give us more money."

Let's see them work with the GNU Project instead. :D

Re:Red Hat = Microsoft (2, Informative)

thomascameron (686477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875913)

Yeah, sure, cause MSFT does all of their development in the F/OSS community and gives away their technology for free just like RHT does with the Fedora Project. And MSFT has open sourced (or kept open source) all of their acquisitions like RHT did with Sistina (GFS and Cluster Suite), JBoss, Qumranet, Netscape Directory Server, Netscape Security System and others. Oh, and MSFT has paid for legal counsel to testify *against* patents in front of the EU and the US. Yeah, I can see how Red Hat is *just* like Microsoft.

Re:Red Hat = Microsoft (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26875989)

What are you talking about?

Oh no! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26875781)

Its a tarp!

The Best Part (-1, Troll)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26877449)

The best part is going to be watching the folks at boycottnovell rant about it. This is going to really pop some throbbing veins on their heads.

MSDN CDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26877499)

Whatever happened to those whopping MSDN CD collections? Does anyone know where I can get them cheap? Stuff before XP/Vista would be nice.

Mod me off-topic if you must, I just wanted to ask a question to the /. crowd, and what better place than a Microsoft story? :)

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