Microsoft and Novell Tout Technical Collaboration Efforts
Published: February 13, 2007
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
After a week of the tempest in the teapot in the wake of a Reuters story that suggested erroneously that Novell might be banned from distributing Linux because of its licensing deal with Microsoft, the two companies were nonetheless eager this week to provide some more details about the technical collaboration they are engaged in as part of the complex deal they signed in November 2006.
The first fruit of their labors will be better interoperability of virtualized instances of their respective operating systems in conjunction with the other's platform. Specifically, Service Pack 1 of Microsoft's Virtual Server 2005 R2 will allow SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 to run as a virtualized guest within Virtual Server. The two also said that SLES 10 will be "an enlightened guest" on the future "Longhorn Server, using the homegrown Microsoft "Viridian" hypervisor. And, just to be fair, Longhorn Server will run as a guest atop a future release of the Xen hypervisor built into SLES 10, using the paravirtualization features inside Xen that access the VT and AMD-V virtualization features in Intel's and Advanced Micro Devices' respective X64 processors.
All of this virtualization support will be rolled out in 2007, according to the companies. And they are working together with the Xen community to speed up the performance of Windows when run in conjunction with Xen. Network performance of virtualized Windows Server 2003 is slow, and Novell, Microsoft, and Xen are working to improve this. Novell has put a patch into its openSUSE project that will eventually be released with Service Pack 1 for SLES 10, which is expected some time this spring. (Probably just before or just after Red Hat ships Enterprise Linux 5, which is due in two weeks.
The two companies also realized that being able to support Linux and Windows together was only one issue--managing the mixed environments was yet another. The two companies announced today that they have committed to use the Web Services for Management (WS-Management) specification put forth by the Distributed Management Task Force standards body as the basis of their respective ZENworks Orchestrator and Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 programs. Microsoft has previously committed to supporting bi-directional translation between the OpenXML format it uses in Office and the OpenDocument Format (ODF) used in the OpenOffice alternative to office. The two have also committed to make their respective directory and identity management software--Novell's eDirectory and Microsoft's Active Directory--work together, too.
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