In October 2010, Microsoft started working toward making the OpenStack open source project compatible with Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization software. The project now seems to be hitting a snag—much as Microsoft’s submission of Hyper-V drivers to the Linux kernel once did—but Microsoft says it is committed to making good on its OpenStack promises just as it did with Hyper-V and Linux.
OpenStack, a framework for creating infrastructure-as-a-service cloud networks from pools of virtual servers, is backed by Rackspace, NASA, Citrix, Dell, AMD, Intel, and others. The project attempts to support multiple hypervisors, including VMware and Xen, but one developer handling release management for OpenStack recently suggested removing Hyper-V code, calling it “broken and unmaintained.”
Microsoft, however, said it is “committed to working with the community to resolve the current issues with Hyper-V and OpenStack,” according to an IDG News Service article published yesterday. The situation is reminiscent of Microsoft’s long project to get Hyper-V drivers into the Linux kernel itself. Microsoft submitted the drivers in 2009 after it was revealed that its use of open source components in a Hyper-V driver violated the GPL free software license. While that project stalled a couple of times, we were just told by Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman this week that the Hyper-V/Linux integration is in good shape.
The same thing could very well happen with OpenStack, although it’s not clear Microsoft has as much incentive to shape up its code this time around. OpenStack can give service providers the tools to build services that compete against Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, or it can give enterprise customers alternatives to VMware’s management tools or even Microsoft’s own virtualization and private cloud management tools. But even if the Hyper-V/OpenStack integration was perfect, it might not gain a huge audience. CEO Joshua McKenty of Piston Cloud Computing, an OpenStack vendor, told the IDG News Service that he’s not aware of any production deployments of Hyper-V with OpenStack.
When it comes to making money, it’s probably far more important for Microsoft to provide a credible alternative to VMware while also supporting data centers that use both VMware and Hyper-V. And Microsoft is already doing that with its System Center Virtual Machine Manager product, which manages Hyper-V and VMware deployments from the same piece of software.
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