Yesterday Microsoft laid out its virtualization strategy to the world, highlighting data center automation and end-to-end (e.g., virtual machine, OS, application, storage) virtualization management as its ultimate goal. While I applaud their integration efforts, I was hoping to hear more regarding new innovations. If I were to draw comparisons, I'd say that Microsoft's announcement is very reminiscent of the VMworld 2007 keynotes. Data center automation was one of my key VMworld takeaways, and was discussed in my September 2007 blog post VMworld 2007 - What you may have missed.
So while Microsoft is not laying the virtualization tracks, they're definitely on the train, which is equally important. Microsoft's virtualization strategy mirrors that of competing vendors such as VMware, Citrix/XenSource, and Novell. The fact that Microsoft's strategy mirrors that of the major players in the virtualization industry further validates the shared vision.
Sharing a vision is one thing. Executing on it is another story. By the end of 2008, Microsoft will be shipping its core virtualization products (i.e. Hyper-V Server, SoftGrid, Terminal Services) along with a single management suite - System Center. It's clear that VMware isn't taking Microsoft's execution plan lightly. VMware's recent acquisition of Thinstall application virtualization is proof of that.
Single vendor end-to-end solutions always sound great on paper, but are extremely rare in the enterprise. If Microsoft is serious about data center automation, it will champion the DMTF's work on open virtualization management standards. History has shown us that no one is going to own the entire stack. Data center automation across heterogeneous platforms will not be possible without not only vendor acceptance, but also widespread integration of open management standards. VM relocation across hardware platforms is an integral part of data center automation, and restrictive licensing that prevents VM relocation is holding up the industry's collective vision of the future data center.
Microsoft - first I'd like to applaud your announcement. Next, I'd like to ask two favors:
- Become a champion of the DMTF's CIM management profiles and open virtual machine format (OVF)
- Drop your restrictive licensing terms for standard edition licenses that assigns licenses to physical servers (instead of individual VMs) and prevents licenses transfers between physical servers to no more than once per 90 days. Assigning standard edition licenses directly to VMs would remove the unnecessary VM mobility restriction created by the current licensing terms.
What do you say, Microsoft? You're on the data center automation train, but you're carrying unneeded weight. Drop your extra baggage (restrictive licensing) and contribute to the rail line (open standards) and the train's going to move much faster.
Posted by: Chris Wolf