Who's buddying up closer with Microsoft: Novell or Red Hat?

I know for a fact that either Novell or Red Hat, or perhaps both, will be announcing next week that they'll be shifting their server virtualization offerings from Xen to XenServer. What I don't know is what, if anything, either one of them may be doing beyond that to further their virtualization partnerships with Microsoft.

One or the other, however, is going to make a major move. This has been building for some time. Novell, of course, has long had a partnership with Microsoft.

On the other hand, Red Hat has just partnered, for the first time ever, with Microsoft to co-ordinate their virtualization efforts.

What's pushing all this activity along is Citrix making XenServer free as it moves from pure virtualization into virtualization management, and a renewal of its buddy-buddy relationship with Microsoft. What all this has to do with Red Hat and/or Novell in particular is that all four companies want a bigger part of the enterprise virtualization pie, and that means ganging up on VMware.

The reason this is being announced next week -- thanks to sources, I already have some of the news -- is because VMware is having its big VMware Europe show at the same time. There is no coincidence whatsoever that Citrix will be announcing its shift from virtualization to virtualization management on February 23rd, the show's first day.

What's also interesting is that Red Hat will be making an announcement that day. I don't know what they're going to be saying, but the timing is interesting don't you think?

As for Novell, they haven't said a word to me for the last week or so. That's odd. That's very odd. I know pretty much everyone at the C-level at Novell and many of the developers and software engineers.

Maybe, although I hope not, they'll be laying off employees after all. Their quarterly report is also next week, which is when the executives have to face up to the board and the stockholders. I don't know how well, or not, Novell is doing. I do know that in these tough times that Red Hat has been doing quite well.

Or, since Novell has, when last I checked a billion or so in cash, perhaps Novell will be buying and/or taking over Xen from Citrix. It could happen. Citrix and Xen was never a comfortable fit. I suspect the Xen developers would fit in well with the SUSE crew.

What will really happen? Darned if I know. I do know that it's going to be an interesting week for all these companies.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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