EMC, the majority owner of VMware, has agreed with the Department of Justice not to acquire 33 Virtualization Patents from Novell as part of a side-transaction in the acquisition of Novell by Attachmate. The Statement from the Department of Justice sheds significant light on the deal that had been struck between Novell and a newly-created company formed by Microsoft, EMC, Apple, Oracle to acquire a portfolio of patents for $450M, and the anti-trust threat that the Department of Justice saw to the Open Source community. And whilst the spotlight has been on Microsoft’s role, it seems that the role of EMC in seeking to acquire Virtualization patents was at least as concerning to the Department of Justice.
The Novell Sale is being positioned to go ahead before the resolution of the Patent issue with the Department of Justice.
VMware may buy SUSE from Novell for a host of reasons, one of the most important of which may be that it gets access to Mono and thereby creates a .NET cloud to compete with Microsoft Azure. Paradoxically, we expect that Microsoft will want this to happen.
VMworld is clearly the largest dedicated virtualization conference, and yet from an Open Source perspective it is slightly disappointing because the VMware ecosystem naturally attracts proprietary software vendors, and also some of the more interesting activities in Open Source are through multi-vendor foundations which do not have the same marketing budgets as vendors themselves.
Nevertheless, there are a number of key Open Source players, and some interesting smaller players, represented at VMworld.
I you buy vSphere 4 (or 4.1) after June 9th, you get a free copy of SLES to run on any CPU on which you have a valid license for vSphere. This lines up SLES on vSphere alongside Windows on Hyper-v, in both cases the O/S and the hypervisor are supplied under the same license. This obviously lines up SLES on vSphere alongside Windows on Hyper-v, in both cases the O/S and the hypervisor are supplied under the same license. In the long term, Licensing SLES leaves out a tantalizing prospect that VMware can build its own semi-official version of Azure, using vSphere, SLES and Mono, without a Windows server operating system in the mix.
As of Service Pack 1, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 (SLES) supports KVM for SUSE guests. This post follows on from our previous post regarding the demise of Xen in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and perhaps suggests the beginning of the end for Xen-based virtualization in Linux, but the story is far from clear. A complex set of agreements with Microsoft mean that Novell is bound to preferentially support Windows guests, and it may be a while before KVM support is adequate, although Novell has a project called Alacrity to help get it there. In the meanwhile Novell may get split up into pieces by a private equity house and SLES find itself a new owner.