Microsoft Linux move puts pressure on VMware

Linux on Hyper-V opens up new virtualization opportunities

Microsoft's historic embrace of Linux technology could have wide-reaching impacts on the virtualization market and Microsoft's rival VMware.

By allowing greater ability to run Linux on the Hyper-V virtualization platform, Microsoft is making a compelling case that it could be the virtualization vendor of choice for consolidation of Windows and Linux applications, says Gartner analyst George Weiss. Microsoft still lags behind VMware in enterprise features such as live migration. But once Microsoft proves itself "good enough" in terms of functionality, many customers will be intrigued by Hyper-V as a lower-cost alternative to VMware, Weiss says.

"Windows with Hyper-V can be a good consolidation story for running Windows and Linux applications," Weiss says. The ability to take over more of the world of both Windows and Linux applications, which is what VMware has been doing, should help Microsoft in its battle against VMware."

Gartner's research shows that VMware still holds 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the x86 hypervisor market, according to Weiss.

Microsoft's big Linux push Monday involved the submission of driver source code for inclusion in the Linux Kernel, which will provide the hooks for any distribution of Linux to run on Windows Server 2008 and its Hyper-V hypervisor technology.Hyper-V's support of Linux-based guest operating systems was previously limited to several versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.  Microsoft provided integration components and technical support to customers who wanted to run SUSE Linux.

VMware also supports Linux, but Microsoft's move to submit code to the mainline Linux kernel could give Microsoft a leg up. As Network World's John Fontana reports, VMware had already "certified kernel mode para-virtualization drivers but administrators have to install them separately because they are not part of the mainline Linux kernel."

With this latest move, Microsoft is pitching Hyper-V as one-stop shopping for both Windows and Linux virtualization.

"The question becomes am I going to pick multiple versions of virtualization technology; one for each operating system or workload, and if I do that, will I get the benefit that I need?" says Sam Ramji, Microsoft's director of open source technology strategy. "Or can I pick one virtualization technology, one management technology and have one set of skills to support that whole infrastructure regardless if it is Unix, Linux or Windows running on top of it." VMware has not yet offered a response to the Microsoft Linux move.

Weiss expects VMware to play down Microsoft's announcement, and point out that it still has the most advanced technology in virtualization management.

"I think VMware will try to downplay it as not significant, that they have already been there and done that, and they have the most market share and the market share comprises not only Windows but also Linux," he says.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Linuxhyper-vVMware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?