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2 min read

The March of the Virtualized Penguins

LinuxWorld-Boston is shaping up to be dominated by virtualization news. Be it the major Linux distributors talking about the incorporation (or attempt to incorporate) of Xen hypervisor into the Linux kernal. We’ll also hear about expanded uses of virtualization and the possible virtualization format battle between vendors. The pace of the discussion has certainly picked up with the emergence of Intel VT and AMD Virtualization and both companies’ I/O specs.

Here’s excerpt from CNET’s article:

Yet another complication comes from the fact that VMware, Xen and Microsoft use a different file format for their virtual machines. In August, VMware began trying to standardize its format. That was shortly after Microsoft began offering royalty-free licenses to use its format, called Virtual Hard Disk. And Xen uses a third format, XVM.

Barriers between these formats are not insurmountable. For example, XenSource licensed Microsoft’s VHD and will offer the ability to import virtual machines created with Microsoft Virtual Server, Crosby said, and VMware shared its format as well. At the same time, VMware offers support for that feature with its Virtual Machine Importer software.

Insurmountable, yes, but barriers nonetheless. “It will tend to retard the movement toward a standard hypervisor level that just sits on top of x86 hardware,” Haff said, adding that low barriers would mean customers could more easily substitute one virtualization company’s product for another. “It is not in VMware’s (or Microsoft’s) business interest to be able to have someone’s free, native hypervisor just slip in to replace ESX Server.”

If you’re not familiar with our Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format, check out the site. It’s a royalty-free license, and VHD represents the application image format of Microsoft Virtual Server. This allows partners to build management, security and other tools for apps running in virtual machines. And just as important, the VHD format will be used with Windows hypervisor in Longhorn Server. So customers and partners have a known transition path.

Along those lines, on Tuesday, April 4, at noon ET our team is hosting a Webcast titled, “Leveraging Windows Server 2003 R2 and Server Virtualization.” Attendees will learn:

  • How to use Windows Server 2003 R2 EE in conjunction with Virtual Server 2005 R2 to get the most out of your existing hardware
  • How virtualization technology can help you address your company’s critical business needs
  • How to gain increased application control, and better control over your entire infrastructure while reducing overall IT costs

I’m looking forward to my visit to Linuxworld-Boston. There’ll be a lot of good info to learn and cool new technology demos. I’ll be sure to post from there.