I haven’t been to Beantown in two years. While the Big Dig is now 99% complete, driving around Boston is as difficult as predicting the weather with a raised, wet finger. It’s not for the feint of heart.

I met with some partners and public sector colleagues today, and sure enough virtualization is all the talk. In case you missed it, today we made Virtual Server 2005 R2 (x86 & x64) available as a free download. And we announced the availability of virtual machine additions so that customers can run select Linux distros as a guest within Virtual Server 2005 R2. The additions are free and once installed the virtual machine additions improve the following:

  • Guest and Host synchronization for time sync, heartbeat and coordinated shutdown
  • Mouse and display driver
  • SCSI disk emulation

Funny enough, much of the press coverage showed surprise that Virtual Server would support Linux.  They must have forgotten that SteveB announced our plans to support Linux guests at MS Management Summit in 2005.

Today also saw another reporter touch on the different virtualization formats offered by us, VM and Xen. I expect one or more keynoters at LinuxWorld to touch on this topic, such as Dell’s CTO or even our Linux lab leader Bill Hilf.

As I touched on last week, Microsoft’s VHD format provides goodness to partners and customers. Here’s what eWeek wrote:

“The VHD format is key, as it allows vendors to understand what the hard disk does, how you write to it and how it stores the virtual machines. It encapsulates the entire guest operating system and application stack in a single file, so understanding that file format lets them build better management and security products around it and translates into a great ecosystem for customers,” Ni said.

But Microsoft’s VHD agreement allows third parties to convert from its VHD to their own format as long as this is bidirectional, thereby allowing Microsoft’s and its customers’ tools to be able to understand the intricacies of the file format, he said.

Two last items. First, XenSource announce that they’re ditching their plans to build virtualization management tools and will focus on providing customer support (for fee) for its commercial packaged hypervisor product based on Xen 3.0.

Second, TechTarget shared the following comment from VMware, which I’m sure went over like a lead zeppelin with VMware customers.

At a recent VMware whistle-stop road show, Kirk Niska, a VMware software engineer, told IT managers that GSX — which until recently sold for roughly $1,400 for a two-CPU server — was never intended for use in production.

The march continues tomorrow … with April showers forecast for Beantown.

Patrick O’Rourke