At the end of last week, Microsoft made an interesting joint announcement with Cloud.com (read virtualization.info coverage of the company): the open source orchestration tool OpenStack, launched by Rackspace and NASA in July, will support Hyper-V as backend hypervisor in the near future, side by side with Xen, KVM and Oracle VirtualBox (plus Citrix XenServer in the near future).
Microsoft won’t develop the code itself, but will work with one of the OpenStack contributors, Cloud.com, to achieve the task.
The announcement has been really vague about how and when, so cloudcomputing.info reached out to Cloud.com to have additional details.
The first thing that is important to clarify is what this integration really means. Cloud.com is developing a hardware abstraction layer for Hyper-V so that OpenStack can use to automate even the most simple tasks, like virtual machines start/stop/resume activities.
This approach will allow customers to use OpenStack with existing Hyper-V virtual data centers without touching the hypervisor.
The new HAL will be also integrated in the Cloud.com CloudStack platform.
OpenStack will not need System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) or System Center Operation Manager (SCOM) or any other Microsoft management tier to orchestrate Hyper-V. Anyway, Cloud.com will extend support to those products in its CloudStack platform, so to automated advanced features like high availability.
Another important thing to report is when this integration will happen.
Cloud.com is already providing the early code, available in the nightly builds of OpenStack. The official release anyway is expected in Q2 2011, as part of a new OpenStack version codenamed Bexar.
Overall this is a very interesting move for Microsoft, considering that the company already owns an orchestration layer since the acquisition of Opalis Software in December 2009.
That product will feature a deep integration with SCVMM and SCOM, but customers won’t see if before Q2 2011 probably.
Why Microsoft decided to rely on Cloud.com for this integration? The official reason is that Cloud.com is very well positioned to accelerate the development of the HAL, while Microsoft is probably busy on other fronts, like the new Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) component of Windows Azure, and the 2011 wave of System Center products. But it’s also likely that Microsoft doesn’t want to deal too closely with a big open source project like OpenStack, given its previous, not so successful experiences in this field.