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Microsoft Support for Virtualisation

Commentary on an interesting blog entry from Karen Forster which outlines her woes in getting support for ISA Server and RRAS in a VM.

Although I am now thru-and-thru a VMware guy, I still stay subscribed to all those newsletters on matters relating to vendors I used to teach/consult in – including Novell, Microsoft and Citrix. Windows IT Pro has an interesting blog entry from Karen Forster which outlines her woes in getting support for ISA Server and RRAS in a VM.

What I thought was interesting about Karen’s article was a couple of things. As you might imagine WindowsITpro is quite “pro” (if you forgive the pun) Microsoft, but even these guys are getting frustrated with Microsoft level of support. Secondly, Karen’s article has generated an official MS responses – and lastly that response does appear to suggest that MS is moving to a more “privileged” level/quality of support for people who run Windows in a MS VM, as opposed to a “3rd Party” virtualisation layer (read: VMware!).  The two KB articles are these:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/897615/ (Non-Microsoft Virtualization)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/897613  (Microsoft Virtualization)

The key phrase in 897613 is “Microsoft supports Windows Server System software running within a Microsoft Virtual Server environment subject to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy and use of the virtual hard disk (.vhd) format. We will make commercially reasonable efforts to investigate the issue and, if necessary, attempt to reproduce the issue on the appropriate hardware.”

Whereas the key phrase in 897615 is “Microsoft does not test or support Microsoft software running in conjunction with non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software. For Microsoft customers who do not have a Premier-level support agreement, Microsoft will require the issue to be reproduced independently from the non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software. Where the issue is confirmed to be unrelated to the non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software, Microsoft will support its software in a manner that is consistent with support provided when that software is not running in conjunction with non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software.

For Microsoft customers who have a Premier-level support agreement, Microsoft will use commercially reasonable efforts to investigate potential issues with Microsoft software running in conjunction with non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software. As part of that investigation, Microsoft may require the issue to be reproduced independently from the non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software. Where issues are confirmed to be unrelated to the non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software, Microsoft will support its software in a manner that is consistent with support provided when that software is not running in conjunction with non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software.”

No doubt many corporates will continue to sign “end-to-end” agreements with their hardware vendors - so their hardware, VMware and VMs are fully supported by one vendor - rather than having to wade through the mine-field of MS support.

This was last published in October 2007

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