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Microsoft, XenSource Plan Interop, Support For Xen On 'Longhorn' Server

Microsoft and XenSource plan to provide interoperability between Xen-based Linux distributions and the virtualization technology planned for the "Longhorn" Windows Server.

The development of such a bridge would allow Microsoft partners and customers to deploy and run Xen-enabled Linux guest operating systems on the Longhorn's "Viridian" virtualization engine, which is slated to become available for Windows Server in the first half of 2008.

The move also enables Microsoft to position its virtualization server code, due to ship six months after Longhorn, as suitable for a variety of hardware platforms and heterogeneous environments--a key requirement as the Redmond, Wash., software giant and XenSource prepare to take on virtualization market leader VMware.

More important, Microsoft has pledged to offer basic technical support for interoperability problems that occur when running Linux virtual machines on the planned Windows virtualization hypervisor.

Though this latest deal between Microsoft and XenSource will help customers run Novell, Red Hat and Virtual Iron Xen-based virtual machines on the Windows platform, it also will give XenSource an advantage over those rivals as well as VMware, whose hypervisor supports Linux and Windows environments. For Windows customers with Premier-level support agreements, for instance, Microsoft will offer "commercially reasonable" efforts to address potential issues with Microsoft software running on XenSource's upcoming XenEnterprise platform.

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