Virtualization makes for odd bedfellows.
Microsoft announced today it will team up with open source virtualization supplier XenSource to run Linux virtual machines under its Windows Longhorn Server.
The move is a big extension of Microsoft's previous commitment to allow Linux virtual machines to run under Windows. In April, it said it would support Linux under its base virtualization product, Virtual Server. Now it's going to support the generation and management of many Linux virtual machines on its most advanced software.
Four years ago, Microsoft denounced open source code as an affront to intellectual property and explained why customers shouldn't want to run Linux in the first place. Now the company's bent on making it easier to do so.
Microsoft clearly understands the wave of virtualization sweeping its customers' data centers. Many of those data centers are running Linux as well as Windows.
Microsoft's Jeff Price, senior director for Windows Server, says: "Customers will definitely have multiple systems. They're asking, 'What are you doing to make our lives easier?' " Microsoft's answer is that it will add a virtualization hyper-visor, a more efficient invocation of virtualization, to Windows Longhorn server and it will support Linux virtual machines running under it. Longhorn server is due by the end of 2007 and the hyper-visor is due six months after Longhorn is released, Price said in an interview.
If Microsoft once had harsh words for open source code such as Xen, which generates Linux virtual machines, XenSource is willing to let bygones be bygones. XenSource was the commercial company founded by Xen's originators at the University of Cambridge, England, to support Xen.