Microsoft is a kinder, gentler software giant than it was a few short years ago. Sure, it’s still a haven for the hyper-competitive, but would the Microsoft of old have turned the other cheek—for nearly two years—while Apple gleefully defined Windows Vista as a crash-prone, resource-hogging golden turkey only used by nerds? Pigs also must be flying over Redmond, as earlier this year Microsoft announced cross-platform extensions for Microsoft System Center 2007 that let IT pros more effectively manage Linux, UNIX, and other non-Windows environments existing next to their Windows infrastructures. Microsoft even joined in the media circus surrounding the launch of the iPhone 3G, issuing a news release praising Apple for supporting Exchange ActiveSync in the new device.

      Has Microsoft now entered a sentimental period in its corporate life when it wants to apologize for past transgressions, or perhaps grows wistful and teary-eyed when talking about the good old days, when it was squashing companies flat and battling antitrust regulators? Has the Microsoft of today gone soft, grown weary of its dogged pursuit of Google, Apple, and VMware? Microsoft is clearly more eager now to play well with others than it was in the past, a development that's good news for IT professionals, who are often caught in the crossfire of warring vendors as they try to build and maintain a heterogeneous IT infrastructure while dodging shrapnel and minimizing trauma from shots fired between Microsoft and the likes of IBM, Apple, and the Linux distribution vendor du jour.

      Yet while Microsoft appears to be going through the equivalent of a sentimental midlife crisis, VMware is obviously taking its cues from the corporate giant's earlier, angrier, it’s-my-ball-and-I’ll-go-home era. Former Microsoft executive Paul Maritz was recently appointed as the president and CEO of VMware after co-founder Diane Greene was shown the door by a nervous EMC board. While Greene’s ouster might have seemed like a reactive move on EMC’s part, there’s no question that putting Maritz in the driver’s seat has some benefits. Maritz was one of the key executives behind Microsoft’s early competitive conquests, helping draft the strategies that led Microsoft to its victories over Novell, IBM, WordPerfect, and Lotus in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Microsoft may have many things on its to-do list at the moment—fighting Google, chasing Yahoo!, clashing with European Union antitrust officials, and searching the employee suggestion box to find out who came up with that doozy of a product name for Microsoft Equipt—but Maritz knows better than anyone that however distracted Microsoft might be, it's still large, dangerous, and well financed.  

      Anyone remember when Microsoft made Internet Explorer gratis, resulting in Netscape’s business prospects being buried under an avalanche of free IE downloads? VMware and Maritz obviously took a page from that merciless Microsoft playbook when it made its next-generation ESXi hypervisor a free download just weeks after Microsoft finally released Hyper-V. Microsoft will still grow share in the server virtualization garden, but the impact of a free (and superior) ESXi stomping on nascent Hyper-V prospects as they poke up from the soil is pure irony. As the saying goes, you reap what you sow, and now Microsoft is seeing the muddy sole of the shoe.

 

Using Hyper-V? Tell Us What You Think!

Microsoft Hyper-V has finally arrived, and it promises to heat up the rapidly growing virtualization market. Are you currently using Hyper-V in your work environment, or are you planning to deploy it soon? We’d like to hear about your experiences, so please send your Hyper-V success stories or tales of woe to Jeff James. Be sure to put “Hyper-V Feedback” in your subject line so we can spot your feedback quickly.

 

 

 

Virtualization News

by Jeff James

 

Virtual Appliance from Secerno Tackles Database Security

Secerno has announced that its Secerno.SQL database security product is now available as a virtual appliance for customers using VMware ESX Server and Virtual Infrastructure 3. The new edition of Secerno.SQL uses patent-pending SynoptiQ technology, which is based on research from the Oxford Computing Laboratory. SynoptiQ analyzes statements made against a database, then compares them to the SQL language. Secerno claims that SynoptiQ "is the only technology available that analyses each statement sent to a database against the SQL language...the true intent of every database request can be understood and then controlled, unlike traditional technology that looks only at specific keywords using pattern matching, regular expression-based approaches." Secerno.SQL for VMware will be available in third quarter 2008. For more information about Secerno.SQL for VMware, visit www.secerno.com.

 

New IT Training and Certification Programs from VMware

VMware sent word that it has launched a new certification program and new online educational offerings for IT professionals interested in building virtual environments. According to VMware, the Live Online and Flex Online courses are available for the “VMware Infrastructure 3: Install and Configure” course, which serves as one of the three course requirements to become a VMware Certified Professional. Two VMware certifications are now available: VMware Certified Professional (VCP) and VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX). The VCP is primarily for partners, consultants, and end users, while VCDX is a new, advanced certification primarily intended for architects responsible for planning and designing VMware deployments. For more information about these VMware certification and training programs, go to www.vmware.com/services.

 

 

Virtualization Tips & Tricks:

Hyper-V Deployment Advice

by Michael Otey

 

Running Windows Server 2003 Under Hyper-V

 

To get Windows Server 2003 to recognize the Hyper-V virtual network, follow these steps:

 

1. First, install Windows 2003 SP2, which is the required level for running Windows 2003 under Hyper-V.

 

2. Install the Hyper-V Integration Components (included with Windows Server 2008); they add support for Hyper-V’s synthetic devices, including the Microsoft VMBus Network Adapter, that enable the Windows Server 2003 VM guest to access the network.

 

Identifying your Hyper-V Version

 

Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization was officially RTMed on June 26, 2008. However, several early releases of Hyper-V made their way into a number of Windows Server 2008 installations since Server 2008 was released back in February. The original Server 2008 release included a beta version of Hyper-V. Microsoft subsequently released two Hyper-V release candidates (RC0 and RC1) before the RTM.

      So how do you know which version of Hyper-V you’re running? The RTM release of Hyper-V is version 6.0.6001.18016.

 

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