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Is Microsoft-Bashing Over Virtualization Delays Overblown?

Would I like to see all of the dropped virtualization features in production ASAP? Of course. I'd also like to have seen Longhorn last year.

It's the old case of a first generation third-party app does it right (VMware), Microsoft releases/bundles-for-free "hobbled" VM functionality with first run of OS, waits and watches while the masses and market effectively beta test the product as part of value-add in production code. Then, three to five years later 90 percent of folks who tinker with virtualization will use the OS native version, which will then have better reliabilty and functionality.

I don't feel the virtualization habits for the majority of the market are baked yet. Shops currently relying on industrial-strength VMware will continue to run VMware after Longhorn is released with what is effectively rev0.5 of Microsoft virtualization. Longhorn "VM" WILL be used by new VM customers and adopters because it will be bundled in the OS and should be fairly integrated in terms of setup and run.

As for this week's delays, I don't think the 16-core limit is much of a hit for most customers. My largest legacy box is 2x2 core, and I'm in the middle of the SMB market. No "live add" or "hotswap" of resources is limiting as much as running a current server OS on non-hot-swappable hardware is. If you absolutely need 24x7x365, you'll run your OS and apps on dedicated enterprise-class hardware anyway, right?

The majority of the blog post shows Microsoft commitment to wrapping native virtualization as part of Longhorn. This is good news, as is the interoperability with xensource and Novell (any nervous twitters in the VMware camp?).

While we have lots of buzz on the virtualization topic, and VMWare has the lion's share of the current market, most shops are still relying on 1x1 platforms for day-to-day and virtualization is just starting to move into mainstream production.
Joe Hernick
contributing editor

Microsoft this week admitted it is pushing back some features from the initial release of its "Viridian" virtualization technology.

The release of the hypervisor is tied to the release of its "Longhorn" Windows server, due before year's end. Microsoft has said it will deliver its server-virtualization technology within 180 days of that release--to meet that goal it is apparently yanking features.

IT press and blog critics were quick to bash Microsoft over the missed deadlines, especially in the light of ongoing delays for Longhorn server. But the move seems typical of Microsoft's new product strategies (ie, aim for the mainstream; embrace and extend) and would seem to impact only the very earliest of early adopters (see NWC Analysis, right).

In a blog posting otherwise touting the Microsoft's virtualization successes (link to:, Mike Neil, Microsoft's general manager of virtualization strategy at Microsoft, announced the changes. They include: no Live Migration, which enables IT to move VMs from one physical machine to another; no hot-add resources (including storage, networking, memory and processors); and a support limit of 16 cores/logical processors.

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