App support could be the party pooper that spoils the virtualization bash

Virtual server users face a lack of formal support commitments by application developers

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3

Virtualization also multiplies the number of hardware combinations that software vendors need to test, adding to the time it takes to certify applications.

Conventional hypervisor-based virtualization "involves everything from the microprocessor to the handling of memory and peripherals," Voce said. "It's why certification from the application vendors is the slowest piece of the puzzle.

Keeping (users) to themselves

Co-opetition is also a factor, since some virtualization vendors also happen to be major application developers who would prefer to steer users toward their own virtualization tools.

Microsoft Corp., which has offered virtualization software for the past four years and plans to ship a major upgrade called Hyper-V Server during 2008, doesn't formally support products such as Office and SQL Server on other virtualization platforms.

In a support policy posted on its Web site, Microsoft said it "will use commercially reasonable efforts" to investigate problems reported by customers that have Premier-level support contracts but use rival virtualization packages. It also has signed joint support deals with some virtualization vendors. But in both of those cases, the company said, it may require any issues to be reproduced independently of the virtualization software before it agrees to fully support users.

The same kind of policy is in place at Oracle Corp., which last month announced plans to launch a virtualization platform called Oracle VM. Oracle will support its databases and applications on its own technology, but the company said that it still hasn't certified those products on rival virtualization offerings, such as VMware's ESX Server. In the latter case, Oracle said that it "will only provide support for issues that either are known to occur on the native OS without virtualization, or can be demonstrated not to be [occurring] as a result of running VMware."

"Microsoft wants to do everything within their power to ramp up adoption of Hyper-V," Voce said, in explaining that company's resistance to supporting its applications on other virtualization platforms. Meanwhile, he added, "Oracle's goal has been to control the entire stack."

In a statement that Microsoft's public relations agency sent via e-mail, the software vendor said that the question of virtualization support is being discussed within the company. "Each Microsoft product team is reviewing their current support policies, and each team will determine the appropriateness of supporting their applications running in a heterogeneous virtualization environment," the company said.

But, Microsoft added, "not every application is viable in a virtualized environment. This adds to the challenges around supporting multiple virtualization platforms."

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3
7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon