Microsoft today announced that it is adding Citrix XenServer to the list of hypervisors its management tool, System Center, will support. This support will be available in the next version of System Center, due in 2011. Microsoft already supports VMware. With the addition of XenServer, Microsoft is now in the rare position of being ahead of the hypervisor competition in supporting technologies made by other vendors. So said Brad Anderson, corporate VP for the Management and Services division of Microsoft, in a downright gleeful voice during a meetup I had with him at the Citrix Synergy user conference in San Francisco on Thursday.
Three down, one to go. Microsoft has of yet no plans to support KVM, the open source hypervisor managed by Microsoft's operating system arch rival Red Hat. "KVM has not reached critical mass yet. We will support it if it does," says Brad.
But let's not let the absence of KVM spoil the news ... how many KVM users would be using a Windows-centric management tool like Systems Center anyway?
I also asked him if Hyper-V was still in catch-up mode, and if it wasn't, what could it do that VMwhere hasn't. I expected him to proclaim that the hypervisor was indeed better -- and to be sure, he didn't belabor that point. He said what the guy responsible from Systems Center would say -- that it isn't about the hypervisor, it is about the management tools that surround it. And that, he said, is where he thinks Microsoft now has VMware beat.
"We understand the application," he explained. And this is different from VMware's tools, which he says looks at the health of the virtual machine, but is a black box to the health of the apps it contains. On top of being able to monitor app health in the virtual machine, Systems Center also monitors it on the 70% to 80% of the servers that are not yet virtualizaed.
I'll leave it to you to decide if you agree with Brad's assessment.
In more Microsoft related Citrix news from the show. Citrix announced that the virtulized version of the comapany's load balancing appliance, NetScaler VPX, will now support Hyper-V, Systems Center, SharePoint 2010 and Exchange 2010. NetScaler users will be able to use the appliance's acceleration, load balancing and security features as a native Hyper-V workload directly from System Center. Citrix says that no network knowledge is required.
NetScaler VPX is a virtual load-balancing appliance that runs on a server, rather than its own box.
Posted by Julie Bort
Julie Bort is the editor of Microsoft Subnet and Network World's Online Community Editor. She also writes the Open Source Subnet blog and is the editor responsible for the Cisco Subnet and Open Source Subnet web sites. If you have an idea for a blog, or a news tip on Microsoft, Cisco or Open Source technologies, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 970-482-6454 or follow Julie on Twitter @Julie188.
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