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So Microsoft announced this week a change in their licensing so that they will no longer require their operating systems or applications to reside on the same physical machine for 90 days before they are moved.

To this I say–Well Duh! I know this is a “big” announcement but this is just common sense now and most people who have done any work with virtualization understand one of the benefits of this technology is the mobility it brings. It would appear that Microsoft has decided to recognize people are moving machines on a more frequent basis and are not going to punish these customers–especially since Microsoft is ardently at work on their own VMotion technology.

However, this really isn’t enough if Microsoft wants customers to implement their virtual solutions. Today, they are still restrictive with virtual appliances in terms of software licensing. You can distribute a virtual appliance but it must be in the Microsoft virtual disk format (VHD) and they do not support other formats like VMware’s. I’m sure this is a strategy to force vendors into a Microsoft virtualization arena but it can easily have the effect of a delaying people to adopt their solution. If I was forced to choose a virtualization strategy would I choose to go with Microsoft in virtualization or VMware? I think that is an easy choice right now considering the dominant position VMware holds in this space and will continue to hold for for a least a few years.

With the annoucement Microsoft is acknowleding how people really do business now but it’s a beginning and not enough. They need to make it easier for people to deploy virtual machines and appliances which solidify Windows being the preferred choice for virtualization. They have given a reason for someone to look at Linux now if they want to support VMware and deploy a virtual appliance.

I think this becomes even more relevant with the rumors swirling around VMware purchasing Red Hat. This acquisition will give a reason for VMware to push a particular OS over another which will eat into Microsoft’s core business. It seems to make sense to get their OS deployed in virtual abundance and remove any reasons someone would have to use another OS for their virtual appliance.

It will be interested to see the virtual landscape in a year.