Microsoft virtual machine 'mythbusting' backfires

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Microsoft virtual machine 'mythbusting' backfires

A Microsoft marketing video designed to "bust myths" around the lack of virtualisation functionality in its products has only served to remind users of how far it has to catch up.

The video features David Greshler, director of virtualisation strategy at Microsoft, and Edwin Yuen, technical project manager at Microsoft, taking apart ten "myths" they said were perpetuated by virtualisation technology rival VMware.

Titled "Microsoft Mythbusters: Top 10 VMware Myths", the duo attacked what they saw as misinformation as presented on the "Why Choose VMware" section of their rival's web site.

Number one in their 'top ten myths' was that "Microsoft offers no live migration" as VMware does with its VMotion technology. Second was the "myth" that Microsoft offered no Clustered File Systems in Windows.

The best the two Microsoft employees could do to de-bunk these assertions was to suggest that their next version of Windows 2008 will feature similar technologies to VMware.

"In our Windows 2008 R2 release, our next release, coming up very soon, we have migration built right in, the same way VMotion works," said Yuen. "It allows you to move a virtual machine from one host to another, without any perceptible downtime."

"Myth one, gone!" said Greshler, smacking his hands together.

Comments on the Microsoft site, even from posters purporting to be Microsoft Gold partners, were highly critical of the duo's attempt to suggest Microsoft has these features commercially available.

"Of course you don't have stuff like Live Migration and such. Sure, you will have it in the future, but right now you don't, and that is the current truth," said one comment.

"So you are busting the myths of not having a VMotion/VMFS equivalent by stating your next product will have them," said another. "When is that expected out again...2010?"

Other assertions the duo attempted to discredit included that Microsoft's Hyper-V was only at version 1.0 and therefore less likely to be reliable or scalable.

 "We're running a lot of Hyper V internally," said Yuen, "...on sites like TechNet, and Microsoft.com."

The duo said Hyper V had the same performance benchmarks as VMware's ESX server, better device driver support, the same memory footprint, and a better pricing model.

Greshler also accused VMware of being selective about what management tools of Microsoft it chooses to compare with its own.

"They only talk about VM manager," he said, rather than the complete suite of Windows System Center - which he believed to be an "apples and oranges comparison."

The 10th supposed 'myth' was that IT shops "need VMware."

 "We've built virtualisation into Windows Server," said Yuen. "You don't have to pay what equates to a virtualisation tax. You can leverage and use virtualisation with what you have now."

Greshler said VMware added an extra layer of "cost, complexity and security" on top of the hardware, operating system and applications stack Microsoft is known for.

His take on virtualisation has become the subject of ridicule.

"You might be wondering where the hypervisor is in this model - I know I am.  Frankly, that is a problem," was the response from blogger Eric Gray, a VMware employee.  "To get [to Microsoft's] "three layers" you'd need to forgo virtualisation."

"As a long time Gold Partner, I find the video embarrassing," said another comment underneath Microsoft's video. "Come on guys, if you are going to release something like this, at least wait until you have a real released solution. You're ten years too late and hundreds of features short."

"We deserve better than this," said Mike Laverick, a Microsoft-certified Instructor.

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