Sunday, February 12, 2006

Microsoft behind the 64-bit virtualization 8-ball

When my "vmware VT" google alert fired for this story, I exercised a rare bit of journalistic skepticism and didn't post right away. After all, it's basically some guy claiming he spoke to some unnamed guy at our esteemed competitor. This seems a somewhat flimsy basis for concluding that the coming version of Microsoft Virtual Server won't be supporting 64-bit guests. Especially given that English is obviously not the author's first language, the potential for misunderstanding was just too great for any premature showboating. The truth will out itself in time; better for now to maintain a calm, statesmanlike reserve.

Well, after picking through some WinHEC slides, all I've got to say is nyah nyah nyah!!!! It looks as though the MS Virtual Server folks haven't quite managed to square the 64-bit virtualization circle in time for the next release of Virtual Server. Let's see: we have a NaN% price disadvantage when compared with VMware Server, no SMP, and no 64-bit guests. All that leaves Microsoft with is the ability to vaguely hint at the coming hypervisor-based nirvana of Vista nee Longhorn. But in the meantime, why not use VMware VMs? Even if every syllable MS utters about its coming hypervisor is an understatement, common sense suggests they'll try to make it easy to move VMware VMs into the new environment, so what's the risk in choosing a solution that is cheaper, better, and existent?

For extra added irony, check out Microsoft trying real, real hard to make it sound like they're leading the way with all this Buck Rogers Virtumization Technology! OK, OK, in fairness, this is actually a pretty good whiteboard talk. Much of what my Microsoft colleague says is applicable to VMware's VMM as well; it's a good introduction for those curious about the nitty gritty details of running unmodified x86 operating systems. We don't binary patch the windows kernel, though.


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