Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 18th Jul 2006 11:52 UTC, submitted by Patrik Buckau
OSNews, Generic OSes "Microsoft and XenSource today announced they will cooperate on the development [.pdf] of technology to provide interoperability between Xen-enabled Linux and the new Microsoft Windows hypervisor technology-based Windows Server virtualization. With the resulting technology, the next version of Windows Server, code-named 'Longhorn', will provide customers with a flexible and powerful virtualization solution across their hardware infrastructure and operating system environments for cost-saving consolidation of Windows, Linux and Xen-enabled Linux distributions."
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vhogemann
Member since:
2005-07-06

Or it just means that Microsoft will support Linux running under its own supervisor technology?

Reply Score: 3

Mark Williamson
Member since:
2005-07-06

Although I work on Xen, I'm not part of the corporate process, so don't take what I say as privileged or accurate information.

I get the impression that the deal is that Xen-aware guests will also run natively under the Windows hypervisor, not vice versa. This makes the Xen interface more of a standard and presumably throws the VMware VMI interface into more doubt as a result.

Windows can already run on Xen under hardware-assisted virtualization, and there are some plans to accelerate and robustify this and to enable full virtualization even on older platforms.

Looks like MS aren't yet licensing their hypervisor API - presumably they want to keep a hold on this part of the business.

It appears to me that this alliance is motivated largely by the need for both companies to compete with VMware, the market leader. It'll be interesting to see how the situation develops...

Reply Score: 5

butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Hi, Mark. It seems to me that the interesting part will be the performance, feature, and reliability comparison between Xen guests running on a Xen host/hypervisor as opposed to running them on Longhorn and MS Virtualization Server. Because the features of the host OS aren't so important when it's managing the same kinds of guests, Microsoft can only weakly leverage their platform dominance to gain an advantage here.

This is no doubt very good news for those who favor Xen to become the de facto standard for paravirtualization. However, I'm sure the agreement XenSource made with MS has certain requirements for keeping the Xen platform stable in order to prevent XenSource from pulling a similar kind of embrace-and-extend tactic on Microsoft that they so like to pull on everyone else. I hope that this doesn't impede the future development of Xen, since it's still a rapidly evolving project.

Keep up the good work!

Reply Score: 1

Mark Williamson Member since:
2005-07-06

> It seems to me that the interesting part will be
> the performance, feature, and reliability
> comparison between Xen guests running on a Xen
> host/hypervisor as opposed to running them on
> Longhorn and MS Virtualization Server.

It's likely the feature sets will be somewhat different, as each vendor adds additional hypervisor and management functionality in an effort to compete - it'll be interesting to see if this results in virtual machine monitor features rapidly evolving.

> Because the features of the host OS aren't so
> important when it's managing the same kinds of
> guests, Microsoft can only weakly leverage their
> platform dominance to gain an advantage here.

The neat thing for them is that they'll be able to run paravirtualised Linux (and hence probably the current SLES10, upcoming RHEL5, etc will work on their hypervisor as and when people want to migrate to it. How good their support is for this will be interesting. But they'll also have the best paravirtualised Windows support, so they'll have a very nice platform.

> This is no doubt very good news for those who favor
> Xen to become the de facto standard for
> paravirtualization. However, I'm sure the agreement
> XenSource made with MS has certain requirements for
> keeping the Xen platform stable in order to prevent
> XenSource from pulling a similar kind of
> embrace-and-extend tactic on Microsoft that they so
> like to pull on everyone else. I hope that this
> doesn't impede the future development of Xen, since
> it's still a rapidly evolving project.

In order to provide stability, the Xen project is trying to support the 3.0 API into the future (it's extensible, though), so it should be possible to already satisfy this requirement.

Of course, seeing exactly what compatibility constraints and extensions are offered by both parties will be very interesting :-)

Reply Score: 1

Beware...
by porcel on Tue 18th Jul 2006 13:27 UTC
porcel
Member since:
2006-01-28

Microsoft will make it easy to run your xen-enabled virtual machines on windows in order to remove the "need" for Linux servers.

Of course, they will not allow you to run the windows-produced virtual machines in Xen so that they retain much larger control of the environment.

The idea is to move people away from thinking of Linux as a core platform. Rather, it will just be another "app" that can run any apps that you may have not *yet* migrated to the tried and tested Windows environment.

This strategy is called co-optation. Microsoft is at it again.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Beware...
by Hands on Tue 18th Jul 2006 19:20 UTC in reply to "Beware..."
Hands Member since:
2005-06-30

That's a fair analysis in my opinion. Otherwise, why would MS be creating 2 separate interfaces? I'm sure that MS will be wanting to make their hypervisor as feature rich as possible when running Windows either as a host or client, but why couldn't they just work with XEN to accomplish the same thing with a single interface.

MS created their own hypervisor with an interface incompatible with XEN and then modified the Windows Vista source code to run on that. Now, MS is adding a XEN-compatible interface to their hypervisor to support clients other than Windows. It seems like it would have been cheaper and easier to cooperate with XEN from the start and make only one interface if interoperability had truly been a high priority.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Beware...
by kscguru on Tue 18th Jul 2006 22:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Beware..."
kscguru Member since:
2006-01-21

I know this isn't a popular opinion, but maybe the Xen interface just isn't a good hypervisor interface? Microsoft isn't adopting it, and neither is VMware.

Scuttlebut I've heard suggests that the Xen interface is too closely coupled with how the Xen hypervisor actually works, to the extent that it is harmful to any other hypervisor's performance to adopt Xen-isms. Anyway, there is going to be a big paravirtualization discussion at OLS soon, I'm quite curious how that will turn out.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Beware...
by BluenoseJake on Tue 18th Jul 2006 21:14 UTC in reply to "Beware..."
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Do you have any proof for your accusations, or are you just spouting FUD? No where in the article does it state that you couldn't run windows-produced virtual machines in Xen, all it says is:

"Xen-enabled Linux guests will also run on Windows Server virtualization." It says nothing about stopping the opposite from happening. Now this may come to pass, but until something is actually said/did/proposed, then it is just FUD

Reply Score: 2

Longhorn?
by elzurawka on Tue 18th Jul 2006 13:39 UTC
elzurawka
Member since:
2005-07-08

How long ago did they announce that it was going to be called Vista? Is this just an old article, or are they just un informed?

Reply Score: 2

Vista not
by cchance on Tue 18th Jul 2006 13:56 UTC
cchance
Member since:
2006-02-24

Actually your incorrect elzurawka...

Vista is the Home based operating system not the server... the server has not been given a name yet and is still goverened as "Longhorn"

Good to see work between microsoft and linux and unfortunately im gonna get flamed about this but the linux as an app kind of fits in with what linux is really good at... sorry to say KDE and other GUI's were never my bag of tricks and keeping linux servers up to date and stable has always been a long standing issue do to the patch process and constant kernel changes... So thats why i see Linux as an App as a good move on both linux and microsoft's part.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Vista not
by alucinor on Tue 18th Jul 2006 14:10 UTC in reply to "Vista not"
alucinor Member since:
2006-01-06

Yeah, in this "as an app" sense, Linux acts more like the Java VM. Since it runs on so many architectures, Linux+C in a way is a VM all to itself.

Reply Score: 2

hmmmmm.....
by tmavr on Tue 18th Jul 2006 14:36 UTC
tmavr
Member since:
2006-07-18

I'm not an expert so sorry if I am wrong!

Does this mean that you can have a linux base running on ring 0 and multiple visualized Longhorn Servers on ring 1 (allong with other OSs on ring 1)?

Or this means that ring 0 is owned by Longhorn and then you are able to add as many xen enabled OSs (in ring 1)?

If the second is true I guess something $tink$...

Reply Score: 2

RE: hmmmmm.....
by searly on Tue 18th Jul 2006 15:05 UTC in reply to "hmmmmm....."
searly Member since:
2006-02-27

Knowing Miscrosoft and their business tactics i would guess something $tink$.

"I get the impression that the deal is that Xen-aware guests will also run natively under the Windows hypervisor, not vice versa."

... as far as i understand this Windows Server is the host OS and xen-aware Os's will be able to run under Windows hypervisor technology.

it would be interresting to see how much Microsoft will contribute towards the other way round, i.e how they will help with ...

"Windows can already run on Xen under hardware-assisted virtualization, and there are some plans to accelerate and robustify this and to enable full virtualization even on older platforms. "

Reply Score: 3

RE: hmmmmm.....
by Mark Williamson on Tue 18th Jul 2006 16:58 UTC in reply to "hmmmmm....."
Mark Williamson Member since:
2005-07-06

It's the latter, Longhorn Server / Viridian will be able to run Xenified guests natively through the use of a compatibility layer.

But it has advantages to both XenSource and MS, so it'll be interesting to see who gets most out of the partnership!

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: hmmmmm.....
by somebody on Tue 18th Jul 2006 19:01 UTC in reply to "RE: hmmmmm....."
somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

It's the latter, Longhorn Server / Viridian will be able to run Xenified guests natively through the use of a compatibility layer.

But it has advantages to both XenSource and MS, so it'll be interesting to see who gets most out of the partnership!


Sorry, but the only impression I get is... "doomsday".

Let me disect it a bit (why I understand and why I don't want to understand):

1. You are not Linux (or any other FOSS OS) affiliated, agreed. You look at your own benefit and as your own commercial opportunity. Ok, this is why I understand why you would want to show us this move as positive.

2. Linux and other Free Software OSes are hardly trying finally to be accepted as viable, and you get into agreement which will put them where common people will think of them as "another application I install under Windows"? Well, the part I don't understand is why you try to show this as good move? (I'm not taking into account everybody here, people affiliated with Windows will probably regard this move as good, which they should. Your comments were mostly persuading the other side) IT IS NOT. And most of the people here agreed on the same conclusion as I did.

In short: good that you post on sites like this one, but spare the hypocracy. Tell the truth. You see this as viable commercial opportunity, stop. You don't give a rats ass about outcome on FOSS, stop. I will even mod you up for the truth.

If you want to say otherwise, just watch MS PR machine taking this deal into their teeth, and how they will show that to the outside world. History says it all.

p.s. I can just imagine near future when some total nobody is saying how he installed that "Linux" app, and it wasn't good. Off course it won't be, because it is not app.

Edited 2006-07-18 19:04

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: hmmmmm.....
by eMagius on Tue 18th Jul 2006 19:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: hmmmmm....."
eMagius Member since:
2005-07-06

Indeed! How dare someone try to make good software instead of furthering a political agenda!

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: hmmmmm.....
by Mark Williamson on Tue 18th Jul 2006 20:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: hmmmmm....."
Mark Williamson Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd just like to point out: I'm not XenSource. I'm paid as a consultant for them, working entirely on open source code (largely for Linux or the core Xen codebase). I'm happier doing this than working on closed code, as I have had to in past jobs. I also do open source work on other apps, but that's not especially relevant ;-)

When I post here I'm doing so as a largely FOSS developer with extra insight into what Xen is up to. I'm doing it for free, on my own time, to help you guys know stuff. And generally I advertise the fact I work on Xen so people will know I have a bias and call me on anything iffy I might say. If I was a shill I would not do this.

> 1. You are not Linux (or any other FOSS OS)
> affiliated, agreed. You look at your own benefit
> and as your own commercial opportunity. Ok, this is
> why I understand why you would want to show us this
> move as positive.

I said it had advantages for XenSource, not that it had advantages for FOSS. XenSource != FOSS. In fact their commercial add-ons to Xen are closed source even though the basic hypervisor is permanently GPL and available for others to productise themselves (as Virtual Iron, for instance have done).

Whether it has advantages for FOSS is a separate issue, which I'm not addressing at all. I think you're confused about my original posts - perhaps you could read them properly before posting?

> 2. Linux and other Free Software OSes are hardly
> trying finally to be accepted as viable, and you
> get into agreement which will put them where common
> people will think of them as "another application I
> install under Windows"?

As opposed to Linux being an app that you install and run under Linux, by virtualisation? Under FreeBSD, under NetBSD, under OpenSolaris?

You can't stop Linux from running under virtualisation - it'll run under Viridian whether you like it or not because it can do full virtualisation. With paravirtualisation it potentially will run with better performance - which will make Linux look better than if the performance is poor due to extra overheads (Windows guests will be running with paravirtualised performance).

The other part of this deal is that MS will support Windows running under Xen - i.e. if you are an enterprise want a Linux-based virtualisation solution you can use Xen and MS will help you fix problems rather than saying "Debug it on a real supported platform". That's important for Linux as a virtualisation host in the enterprise.

> Well, the part I don't understand is why you try to
> show this as good move? (I'm not taking into
> account everybody here, people affiliated with
> Windows will probably regard this move as good,
> which they should. Your comments were mostly
> persuading the other side) IT IS NOT.

It's a good move for XenSource, which is all I've claimed. I think the jury will be out on whether it's good for everyone else until the whole thing has actually happened... If you've a powerful insight into why this is not a good move for everyone else, you could do one of the following:

1) Build on the Xen codebase to create a fully free enterprise Xen platform
2) Simply lobby the Linux kernel developers to not include Xen support in mainline Linux. You could also lobby Redhat / Novell not to include Xen support in their enterprise distribution on the grounds it'll be bad for their business in the long term.

In other words if you want to stop this it's the people who are shipping Xen support to the masses you ought to be complaining to, not the people writing it.

> And most of
> the people here agreed on the same conclusion as I
> did.

Doesn't really look like that to me. Looks like some are searching for MS conspiracies, which is usually a fairly good plan since MS do things to benefit themselves. Others posters just want information on the deal.

> In short: good that you post on sites like this
> one, but spare the hypocracy. Tell the truth. You
> see this as viable commercial opportunity, stop.

Actually, all I did was explain how the business deal would work and why it was beneficial to both companies.

Could you please identify precise quotes where I have lied, explain why they are lies (backing up this with factual information), and enlighten us all as to your Truth in this matter.

If you can't do this, perhaps you could quit casting aspersions and take part in a constructive and reasonable debate. In fact, maybe you should consider doing that anyway.

> You don't give a rats ass about outcome on FOSS,
> stop. I will even mod you up for the truth.

OK, the truth, here goes:

Personally I do care about FOSS, and given I'm not in management (or even an employee) at XenSource it's not really up to me what the higher-ups do. I found out about this through the press release, same as you did.

The deal will benefit both companies - this is what companies do, they are not altruistic. The deal may or may not benefit FOSS - whether it will or not is not clear, and speculation (even yours) is not fact. But I'm really not commenting on the wider effect to FOSS at all.

> If you want to say otherwise, just watch MS PR
> machine taking this deal into their teeth, and how
> they will show that to the outside world. History
> says it all.

Surely you're not suggesting that PR output of companies is spun in their favour and is not an objective source of information? The truth: all companies spin PR statements for their own benefit, even FOSS-based companies. It's part of business. MS will present this as a victory for them, if the deal had fallen through they would present that as a victory for them. If it hadn't happened, they would have said they didn't want it to happen.

> p.s. I can just imagine near future when some total
> nobody is saying how he installed that "Linux" app,
> and it wasn't good. Off course it won't be, because
> it is not app.

Virtualisation will let you run Linux under Windows, and vice versa. Nothing you or I can do to change that, Linux will be an app virtual machine under Windows (and vice versa) whether anyone likes it or not. This just changes the interfaces they'll use. You can already run Linux under Windows using a MS software stack.

Anyhow, if you have any concrete criticisms of me, please allow me to address them. You could even do so privately, so as to avoid spamming everyone else. Otherwise, perhaps we could just have a more rational debate?

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: hmmmmm.....
by somebody on Tue 18th Jul 2006 22:57 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: hmmmmm....."
somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

As promised, honest answer (the full truth) and a mod point from me.

Thanks

Anyhow, if you have any concrete criticisms of me, please allow me to address them. You could even do so privately, so as to avoid spamming everyone else. Otherwise, perhaps we could just have a more rational debate?

No need, you've told all already. Previous comments were half truth, this one was naked and complete for both sides.

p.s. I don't hate Xen, hell, I use it. I wasn't requesting a change or Xen dismissal. I just hate when truth is not complete. It was the lack of... that pissed me off.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: hmmmmm.....
by Mark Williamson on Wed 19th Jul 2006 00:59 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: hmmmmm....."
Mark Williamson Member since:
2005-07-06

This is largely a personal reply, so apologies to others reading this thread if they consider it "spam". I'd just like to clear up a few points:

> As promised, honest answer (the full truth)

I'm aware that honesty involves the full truth but thanks for clearing up any confusion for me.

> and a mod point from me.

Thanks for the gesture. But I'm only on here to participate in discussion. Asking me to clarify anything you didn't understand would have been quite sufficient without requiring an offered "reward" - and it looks like my reply to you has accumulated mod points from other users in any case.

> p.s. I don't hate Xen, hell, I use it. I wasn't
> requesting a change or Xen dismissal. I just hate
> when truth is not complete. It was the lack of...
> that pissed me off

I could tell you didn't hate Xen - no doubt your annoyed that a FOSS project you like is co-operating with MS, who you apparently don't like. You sounded like you felt quite betrayed actually - maybe this is why you were rude to me.

> No need, you've told all already. Previous comments
> were half truth, this one was naked and complete
> for both sides.

Funny, the only thing I've added is saying that this isn't necessarily either good or bad for FOSS. I'd never claimed anything about the impact on FOSS in my other posts - I was answering peoples' questions regarding the business deal and that point hadn't come up. It was you that brought free software politics into it, so presumably this is the issue that matters most to you. If this was important to you, you could have just asked the question of me rather than being offensive.

You accused me of being a hypocritical and of not telling the truth, and I asked for evidence to support your claims. Most people would consider that reasonable. You don't seem willing to explain how I misled people, so I'll assume you don't have any adequate explanation. Other readers can draw their own conclusions.

In future, if you want further information / justification from me when I post on this site, please feel free to just ask the question you really want answered and save us both some hassle ;-) There's really no need for us to both get worked up about this when we can just share information and compare opinions politely. I look forward to doing this in future!

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: hmmmmm.....
by somebody on Wed 19th Jul 2006 16:36 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: hmmmmm....."
somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

I wouldn't be answering, but since it seems you need your "Why?" answered, here we go.

I could tell you didn't hate Xen - no doubt your annoyed that a FOSS project you like is co-operating with MS, who you apparently don't like. You sounded like you felt quite betrayed actually - maybe this is why you were rude to me.

Betrayed? Not at all:) /*just stupid example*/ Few posts back I was defending Visual Studio against non-true remarks when compared to Sharpdevelop for similiar half truth, so no, I'm not FOSS fanatic. Angry? f__k yes. Why? I have to work with PR too much, and I'm getting sick of hearing half truth and keeping quiet about the other half like no one will ever see it. Everytime someone spawn a PR stunt of this kind (as presenting only positive side) I get angry /* you can take it as anything you want, but based on your response I doubt it was intentional ?slip? from your side, most of PR stunts unfortunatelly are */.

You accused me of being a hypocritical and of not telling the truth, and I asked for evidence to support your claims. Most people would consider that reasonable.

Well, here is where you are wrong. But then again maybe hypocritical was not the best word (I might even owe apology for that after your response). It wasn't what you said (I think I even mentioned that in my original post), it was WHAT YOU DIDN'T SAID and how you presented what you said.

In short:
You were presenting one-sided as global. Simply forgetting mentioning that things aren't so rosy for the other side (fact: you were clear in your answer to me). And I think my previous answer was already confirmation of that fact.

You don't seem willing to explain how I misled people, so I'll assume you don't have any adequate explanation

Ok, people need sleep and it was 2AM here. I'm no exception. Sorry for late response.

In future, if you want further information / justification from me when I post on this site, please feel free to just ask the question you really want answered and save us both some hassle ;-) There's really no need for us to both get worked up about this when we can just share information and compare opinions politely. I look forward to doing this in future!

I mostly "jump in" in occasions like this one or when I have something constructive to say. So, probaly not many (if any) questions from me.

Reply Score: 1

RE[8]: hmmmmm.....
by Mark Williamson on Wed 19th Jul 2006 17:46 UTC in reply to "RE[7]: hmmmmm....."
Mark Williamson Member since:
2005-07-06

>I wouldn't be answering, but since it seems you need
>your "Why?" answered, here we go.

Well, it would seem polite to answer given your accusations. But OTOH, the accusations weren't very polite in the first place, so maybe it doesn't matter too much.

> Angry? f__k yes. Why? I have to work with PR too
> much, and I'm getting sick of hearing half truth

So, basically, you got angry because you *suspected* I was spreading PR and decided that since you were so angry at the way my posts sounded to you, personally, it would be acceptable to hurl accusations. Doesn't sound like a mature contribution to a debate.

> Well, here is where you are wrong.

I don't follow? Wrong in it being reasonable to ask for you to substantiate your accusations? Wrong in what way?

> It wasn't what you said (I think I even mentioned
> that in my original post), it was WHAT YOU DIDN'T
> SAID and how you presented what you said.

You still haven't actually explained what you think I should have said, what I omitted, how I presented things. Waving your hands and saying it sounded like PR doesn't cut it. Perhaps if you addressed these issues, I could improve my future posts!

But, regardless, I was answering peoples questions. Look at my posts, I'm responding to the things people asked and adding other bits of information they might be interested in. If you thought other questions should be addressed then you should have asked them, or suggested possible answers to them.

> I mostly "jump in" in occasions like this one or
> when I have something constructive to say. So,
> probaly not many (if any) questions from me.

Here, you don't seem to understand my point:
* constructive would be asking questions that clarified my position, and pointing out places where you disagreed, adding alternative viewpoints to the discussion, etc.
* Non-constructive is accusations and name-calling towards somebody who is trying to give you information. It hasn't resulted in any new insights relative to the other approach and has wasted our time.

You apparently wanted me to post more viewpoints, so if you'd asked questions about them I would have done. This would be a graceful way to deal with the problem.

I still haven't seen a justification for your behaviour beyond saying my post sounded like PR to you and that it didn't include some (unspecified) information you think it should have done but somehow couldn't just ask for.

How about next time you think I'm not saying what I should say, you try one of these:
"Hey, how about this point of view?" or "What do you think of this?" or "How would you answer this criticism?" or "Haven't you missed out this point?"
and see what happens?

This is going to resolve your qualms far more effectively and quickly than calling me names and hoping that as a result I'll answer your unspoken questions.

If you need to vent some anger, try doing so before posting, it'll save you time and probably be more satisfying! I go out cycling to relieve stress, but each to his own.

Reply Score: 1

Xen and Windows
by Mark Williamson on Tue 18th Jul 2006 15:19 UTC
Mark Williamson
Member since:
2005-07-06

> Knowing Miscrosoft and their business tactics i
> would guess something $tink$.

My guess would be that everybody involved is planning to co-operate now to improve their entry into the market, and then worry about competing with each other later. MS probably think they can make a better virtualisation solution than Xensource, or at least own much of the market. Xensource are probably hoping for similar things!

> ... as far as i understand this Windows Server is
> the host OS and xen-aware Os's will be able to run
> under Windows hypervisor technology.

Yep, and Xensource will help MS implement this.

> it would be interresting to see how much Microsoft
> will contribute towards the other way round, i.e
> how they will help with ...
> "Windows can already run on Xen under
> hardware-assisted virtualization, and there are
> some plans to accelerate and robustify this and to
> enable full virtualization even on older platforms.
> "

I doubt MS will help with this at all. The key place they're helping is that they'll support Windows running on Xen rather than saying "Nope, that's an unsupported platform, retest on bare hardware" which would harm Xen's enterprise adoption even with the technical capability to run unmodified OSes.

Redhat, Novell, Intel and IBM are helping with various Xen coding, as well as some folks in XenSource, in Cambridge University, and some random other companies / individuals. Work to improve Windows (and other unmodified) guest stability and performance is currently underway (including the ability to use Xen-aware devices under otherwise unmodified guests for better performance, getting some of the benefits of full paravirtualisation). Windows runs at the moment, but I think there's quite some way to go in getting it really robust and performant on all platforms (32 bit, PAE and 64).

Also worth noting that groundwork for full virtualisation under Xen has already been completed, although there's still a way to go in getting this fully working.

OK, this turned into a bit of an advert for Xen, but hopefully it's interesting to folks what features are underway.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Xen and Windows
by searly on Tue 18th Jul 2006 15:47 UTC in reply to "Xen and Windows"
searly Member since:
2006-02-27

Do i understand rightly then, that all three, VMWare, Xen, and Microsoft Windows hypervisor technology are trying to do the same thing. The difference that MS has no interrest in allowing other host Os's, whereas XEN is interrested in running on any host, for Windows on top of Microsoft Windows hypervisor technology, rather than "native" XEN enabled Kernel. And if so couldn't there be a problem in the future for Linux if the implementation of Windows on top of XEN is not as stable and performant? Is XENSource therefore helping to make Windows hypervisor technology XEN compatible? So rather than developing it's own Windows version of XEN (like VMWare) you are using existing Windows hypervisor technology.

What is the real benefit of that? Hasn't XEN already got great market share by running on top of Linux and Unix (as there are more linux and Unix servers out there, as far as i know.) And as far as i under stand it more or less is now accepted as a new standard and endorsed by most big OS providers (Novell, Sun, red hat ...)

Edited 2006-07-18 15:51

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Xen and Windows
by Mark Williamson on Tue 18th Jul 2006 15:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Xen and Windows"
Mark Williamson Member since:
2005-07-06

>Do i understand rightly then, that all three,
> VMWare, Xen, and Microsoft Windows hypervisor
> technology are trying to do the same thing.

Well, broadly. All want to enable some sort of paravirtualisation, whilst retaining compatibility with unmodified guests. VMware want the VMI paravirtualisation interface, which is OS and hypervisor agnostic (or at least, is being evolved in that direction). MS will have their own hypervisor API but support Xen's. Xensource just support Xen's API.

All of them have some sort of solution for running unmodified guests.

> The difference that MS has no interrest in allowing
> other host Os's, whereas XEN is interrested in
> running on any host, for Windows on top of
> Microsoft Windows hypervisor technology, rather
> than "native" XEN enabled Kernel.

MS hypervisor will probably require a Windows "host" OS (it's not strictly a host due to the architecture, but that doesn't really matter).

The result of this deal is that Xen-aware kernels will be able to run on the Windows Hypervisor, as well as on Xen itself.

> And if so couldn't there be a problem in the future
> for Linux if the implementation of Windows on top
> of XEN is not as stable and performant?

The deal is that XenLinux (and XenSolaris, XenNetBSD, XenFreeBSD, etc) will be able to run natively on the Windows hypervisor - it'll be up to MS and Xensource how good this support is. It doesn't involve running Xen itself, just supporting the Xen interfaces.

You can still run a Xen-based system using a "host" OS such as Linux, Solaris, NetBSD, if you want and then run Windows under that system.

> Is XENSource therefore helping to make Windows
> hypervisor technology XEN compatible?

Yes.

>So rather than developing it's own Windows version
> of XEN (like VMWare) you are using existing Windows
>hypervisor technology.

There wouldn't be a Windows version of Xen, because it would require altering the Windows source code - not really possible. Instead, they'll improve the compatibility and ubiquity of the Xen API by creating a *second* implementation of it, which can work with Windows hosts.

Multiple Open source OSes that are ported to Xen can act as a Xen "host". For instance, OpenSolaris, NetBSD and Linux currently have various levels of support for being a Xen host. FreeBSD will too, eventually.

This move gives MS the ability to run paravirtualised Linux, without having to get their own APIs into the Linux distros. It gives Xensource's Xen API an advantage in the market. That's the deal.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Xen and Windows
by searly on Tue 18th Jul 2006 16:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Xen and Windows"
searly Member since:
2006-02-27

Thanks for the clarification.

Reply Score: 1

Assuming...
by twenex on Tue 18th Jul 2006 18:21 UTC
twenex
Member since:
2006-04-21

...that Microsoft ever DID start to treat the rest of the industry as anything other than a mortal enemy, it would be an interesting sociological study to see how long it took for people to believe them.

Reply Score: 0

Driver compatibilty
by ewright on Tue 18th Jul 2006 19:12 UTC
ewright
Member since:
2005-07-21

Insofar as Windows hypervisor technology virtualizes the hardware using Windows drivers, this might improve device compatibility for Xen-enabled Linux.
Thoughts?

Reply Score: 1

"Just another application"
by joelito_pr on Wed 19th Jul 2006 01:26 UTC
joelito_pr
Member since:
2005-07-07

Hey! That's exactly what I tought the first time I installed Linux. Actually, since I used WinLinux(A red hat fork) for a while. This distro actually behaved like just another app(Installed like a regular program even if I had to reboot to use)

Reply Score: 1