One of the things that most impressed me about Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 (besides being free) was Microsoft’s official support of various Linux distros as a Guest OS. I started testing Virtual Server after I found that the then current version of VMware ESX 2.5 could not run Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 based distros (CentOS 4 in my case). Microsoft Virtual Server did and when the R2 release officially listed RHEL4 and SUSE Linux as supported Guest OSes, I was pretty happy. So, I when I read this headline on Network World, I was really puzzled.
I headed over to this Microsoft web page to check things out for myself…
…and verified that the only supported Linux distro there is SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 1. Now, to be fair, the list also does NOT include Microsoft’s own Windows Server 2000, Windows NT, Windows 98, or MS-DOS either. Hyper-V should at least include support for RHEL5 based distros, Ubuntu based distros, FreeBSD/OpenBSD, and Open Solaris.
However, this makes sense given that the current Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 does not really support the X11 that ships with RHEL5 and Ubuntu. I’ve been wondering why this is so hard since workstation based virtualization products like Parallels Desktop for Mac and VMware Workstation 6 work fine with the current Linux/X11 releases I’ve tried. I spent quite a while piecing together how to configure RHEL5 based distros to work under Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 (see my blog entry linked below).
I hope this lack of support for major Linux/BSD distros is just something that will be corrected before Hyper-V is released in its complete 1.0 format. But, if not, it will be a huge disappointment to me having invested a number of years working with Microsoft Virtual Server and in the planning stages to migrate to Hyper-V.
Here’s a detailed take on Microsoft’s virtualization and interoperability direction from Michael Francisco written last August…
One of the things Michael says in it is: First, customers are insisting on support for interoperable, heterogeneous solutions. To me “heterogeneous” needs to include more than just SUSE Linux from the *NIX ecosphere.