Monday, February 16, 2009

Red Hat Announces it's kinda Interoperable, sort of, maybe?

In a rather lack luster announcement today Red Hat has indicated they have signed a reciprocal agreement with Microsoft to enable increased "interoperability" for the companies’ virtualization platforms. Both companies said that they would offer a joint virtualization validation/certification program that will provide coordinated technical support for their mutual server virtualization customers.

Is it just me or does this Red Hat Interop announcement seem a little misguided? Digging a little deep it appears that Red Hat and Microsoft don't fully grasp what Interoperability actually is or more to the point who it benefits. But rather they seem to taking advantage of the buzz that interoperability has enjoyed in 2009. So now rather then slapping a "cloud" logo on your product, you slap an interoperable logo on there too.

Back to the announcement,
  • Red Hat will validate Windows Server guests to be supported on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization technologies.
  • Microsoft will validate Red Hat Enterprise Linux server guests to be supported on Windows Server Hyper-V and Microsoft Hyper-V Server.
  • Once each company completes testing, customers with valid support agreements will receive coordinated technical support for running Windows Server operating system virtualized on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization, and for running Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtualized on Windows Server Hyper-V and Microsoft Hyper-V Server.

My question to Red Hat is since when does certification and technical support count as interoperability? Making this all the more confusing is there was no mention of Red Hat's actual interoperability efforts which traditionally have focused on it's open source systems management API called LibVirt.

In case you're not familar with LibVirt, it is a toolkit incubated under Red Hat's Emerging Technology projects group. The goal of the API is to create an interoperable systems API which serves as central point of interaction with the virtualization capabilities of recent versions of Linux (and other OSes). Among it's various features the API also acts as a CIM provider for the DMTF virtualization schema as well as a QMF agent for the AMQP/QPid messaging system. Libvirt is free and available under the GNU Lesser General Public License.

Up until today it appeared that Red Hat was ready to lead the interoperability effort, this anouncement puts some doubt if this is actual a true motivation of the company. If Red Hat is serious about being interoperable, they must do more than be MS certified. Partners and customers are smart enough to read beyond press releases. Action speaks louder then words and Red Hat must actually take steps to enable an interoperability cross vendor environment. The most logical first step is to provide direct support for Microsoft with in Libvirt. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Come on Red Hat we expected more from you.

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