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From PRNewsWire: Microsoft and Novell Deliver Joint Virtualization Solution Through Partners. The headline of the press release: “Supported by Dell and other channel partners, solution includes SUSE Linux Enterprise Server running as optimized guest on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.”

Now, maybe I’m not up on the news regarding my favorite distribution, but it seems to me that a deal allowing SuSE to be virtualized as a guest under Windows is not only “joint”, but plain moronic. Despite the marketing efforts of Microsoft, Unix-based systems (including Linux) have always had the upper hand in availability, reliability, and performance.

I must say, from what I’ve heard, Windows Server is getting *much* better in these areas - and I’ve even heard that the latest version includes an option to install without a graphical environment, and even includes a command-line that’s useful. It’s about time.

However, it seems to me, that any virtualization deal between Microsoft and a Linux distributor can provide only one logical solution: Windows Server virtualized as a guest in a high-availability Linux host. More importantly, without the insane per-processor licensing - a per-VM instance license that’s hardware-agnostic and allows VMs to be migrated across hardware as the admin sees fit.

Oh, and one more insight. If Microsoft wants to be a serious player in the virtualization arena, here’s a few “simple” steps:

  1. Get Windows Server to work correctly under Xen, VirtualBox, etc. Certify it. Provide the correct guest OS tool packages
  2. Provide simple management of Windows in a virtualized environment - minimally, a standard SSH server that’s compatible with OpenSSH, a GUI-less environment, and a serial console.
  3. Get rid of per-processor licenses. Provide a basic license that allows for, say, 10 VMs to be running at once, and allows as many installs as needed - the only licensing is based on the amount of VMs actually running. i.e., if you have 10 VMs and one gets corrupted, you can bring that one down and online a back-up image, without violating the license.
  4. Make licensing processor-agnostic. Want to migrate a Xen VM (Windows guest) from a dual-core Pentium to an 8-core Xeon, or even a 16 processor SPARC? Sure, no problem.


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