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Microsoft support for VMware: wishful thinking?

Last week, I wrote a story about Sun’s upcoming xVM virtualization offerings, and in that story, I quoted Sun director of Solaris marketing Dan Roberts as saying that Microsoft does not officially support Windows or its applications running as guests under VMware. “There is no official support,” he unequivocally said.

Not so, countered VMware, pointing to a couple of Microsoft Knowledge Base articles on Microsoft’s support site. For example, one such article says “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,” a VMware spokesperson pointed out.

However, the KB article itself also explicity states that customers without Premier level support enjoy no such assurances. For those shops, “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.”

In other words, Microsoft supports its software running on third-party virtualization software, but not really. More to the point, whereas it may be making “commercially reasonable efforts” at support today, will it always? A “commercially reasonable effort” is a very subjective notion indeed — one which may change dramatically the closer we get to a shipping version of Microsoft’s own virtualization platform, Viridian. Or is that too cynical of me?

Personally, I’m curious to hear how support for Microsoft OSes and apps is playing out in your VMware shop. How has it changed over the months and years? Do you worry that Microsoft will use support as the stick to get people to switch to Viridian? If and when they do, what would it take for you to go along? Feel free to leave a comment, or if you’d rather respond in private, send me an email.

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One just does not tell MS the problem is occurring in a VM, most server problems are not VMware-specific. M$ will do whatever they can to squish VMware like they did with Netscape and are trying to do to Adobe and other companies. M$ doesn't really care about SMBs other than to take as money as they can from us.
Drivers. If the hypervisor drivers correctly emulate the hardware, of whatever kind, what else is there? This will become even more true when the hypervisor "disappears" into firmware (already started with ESX3i). Does MS support it's OS running all applications built to run in Windows? Do they only support certain x86 hardware? If they can do all this, what is the deal? Is MS the problem or the solution? Virtualization will make that answer very clear...
MS should not pull the support plug on installations on VMWare. Of course they can recommend otherwise, but the trend is inevitable. Further, if MS pulls 'official' support for installations on VMWare for WS2K8 or later OS, then you would see a lot of IT shops simply stop at the version before - WS2K3 for example.
Just today I had to call Microsoft Support with an issue we are having with one of our Windows 2003 VMs on ESX, and I was told" "Microsoft does not support VMWare" and that they would do their best to resolve the issue....but no guarantees.
I called Microsoft pay per incident on Aug 8 with a Exchange 2007 SP1 issue on Windows 2008. Microsoft refused to continue to support or work my issue once they ran a health check on my Exchange Server. I talk to a supervisor and they flat out refused to work with me. I think this is the worse thing Microsoft could do and it can only backfire on them. Shame on you Microsoft and your Marketing people. I would not use Hypervisor - even if it FREE. This is the IE vs Netscape game all over again. DO I smell ANTI-TRUST violations
I tried to get Microsoft to help me today with my exchange 2003 server running in a windows 2003 R2 enterprise VM... Vmware VI3 is my platform of choice for infrastructure deployments... so when I ran the health check and "TRIED" to strip out anything 'vmware' related before sending it to them, they still were able to figure out somehow that I was running in vmware. Unfortunately for me, they basically terminated support for my problem immediately and told me "sorry we don't support vmware"...well, I don't need freaking VMware support, my VMware runs just great thank you...what I need help with is your p.o.s. exchange server product that we spent tons of money on and once I tried to "secure" it a little more with URLScan it basically hosed up OWA to the point where it wasn't even usable anymore... consequently active sync failed to work and all of my users were complaining that they couldn't get email on their phone anymore. SO, now i'm faced with the challenge of what to do with my exchange environment...personally, I'd like to take it and throw it all out the window and put something in that is more reliable in the first place but of course upper management won't have any of that. Just another reason why I absolutely HATE microsoft and their business practices, I think they are all as crooked as politicians and should be sued until the cows come home for not supporting their software by blaming it on "other" software when the problem is theirs all along. UGH, what will the next thing be..."we don't support (fill in the blank), because its running on something other than a product with which microsoft has a vested interest" ? down with the evil empire!