The move is likely to prove beneficial for enterprises operating a mixture of Windows and Linux systems in the data centre.Under the terms of the agreement, Red Hat will validate Windows guests to be supported on Red Hat Enterprise Server, while Microsoft will likewise validate Red Hat Enterprise Linux guests to be supported on Windows Server platforms with the company's Hyper-V technology.Furthermore, once validation is completed, customers with technical support agreements will be able to receive co-ordinated technical support for both Windows virtual machines running on Red Hat, and Red Hat Linux running on Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V Server.Windows and Linux are the most common platforms found in data centres, and the deal is likely to make life easier for large organisations looking at extending their use of virtualisation."Most customers run heterogeneous networks, and having interoperability between these two major platforms will make virtualising these environments much easier for enterprise customers," said Gary Chen, research manager for enterprise virtualisation at analyst firm IDC.While some industry observers have compared the agreement to Novell's deal with Microsoft in 2006 covering mutual protection from patents, Red Hat said that the current agreement does not include any patent or open source licensing rights, nor any financial clauses other than industry-standard certification and validation test fees.Some industry watchers have instead suggested that the deal is part of a strategy to attack VMware, currently the leading provider of virtualisation technology within data centres. Microsoft and Red Hat said that validations for their respective server virtualisation products are currently underway, and that the first results are expected later in the year.
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