Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One Small Press Release for Microsoft, One Giant Leap for Virtualization

Microsoft made a major annoucnement today regarding the licensing and support of their products in the virtual environment, and even threw a curveball in one of the linked kb article.

First up, the shift in licensing policy. previously Microsoft licensing was tied to server named instances, with a single move permitted every 90 days. This announcement seems to be suggesting a move toward capacity on demand. The other part of the announcement was a brief explanation of the much longer new Microsoft whitepaper on licensing on virtual hardware, found here: Microsoft Server Products in Virtual Environments I didn't find anything too surprising in the document.

The other half of the announcement was an explanation of what the SVVP is, and how it is going to help you when you need to call Microsoft for support. The SVVP is the Server Virtualization Validation Program. Similar to the move by Citrix to expands the ranks of it's application ISV partners, Microsoft has created a program to enhance cooperation among TSanet members with a focus on virtualization. The cost of entry is not too bad, as they are requiring a TSanet membership (this appears to be $1500 annually), and $250 per virtualized configuration. It will not be a logo program, but rather a list of certified vendors and applications maintained by Microsoft. I think this will help reduce finger pointing between application vendors that are members, but it is not a seismic shift in policy, as Microsoft still reserves the right to require a virtual instance to be reproduced outside of the 3rd party virtualization environment. Some industry heavyweights have already joined the program, including the expected such as Citrix and Cisco, and at least one surprise, Sun Microsystems.

Now for the curveball. It was very subtle, hidden in the kb article associated with the press release. I don't know if you noticed that when I mentioned reproducing a problem, I didn't say "on physical hardware". Microsoft has announced that you now have the choice of reproducing the problem on physical hardware *or* in Hyper-V. Now, that is a brilliant move by Microsoft, that may lead to beachheads of Hyper-V in otherwise pure VMware or XenServer shops.

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