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Red Hat virtualization: No Windows Server 2008, RHEL management

The new Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers platform made its debut yesterday, with Red Hat touting it as a “standalone, lightweight, high-performance hypervisor” that “provides a solid virtualization foundation for cloud deployments” and comes with software “for configuring, provisioning, managing and organizing virtualized Linux and Microsoft Windows servers.”

Sounds good so far, right? Well, there are a few things Red Hat neglected to mention in that press release. First, there’s this sentence buried in the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization data sheet, about the system requirements for management servers:

“Windows Server 2008 not supported.”

Isn’t that kinda like coming out with a hot new car and saying, “unleaded gasoline not supported”?

In our recent “Virtualization Decisions 2009 Purchasing Intentions Survey,” 51% of respondents said they have Windows Server 2008 installed, and 36% said they use Windows Server 2008 for mission-critical applications. It was the second most popular server OS, behind Windows Server 2003.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux was the third most popular server OS among our survey respondents, with a 36% installed base and 29% use for mission-critical applications. And here’s the kicker: Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers won’t support that OS either!

The data sheet doesn’t explicitly say there’s no RHEL support, like it does for Windows Server 2008, but the management server requirements specifically say that you need an x86 server with the U.S. English language version of Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2, .NET 3.5 or later with the Application Server role installed.

Red Hat is trying to become a bigger player in the virtualization market. The company has taken a different approach, embracing the KVM hypervisor over Xen. And this new Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Servers platform is its most ambitious attempt yet.

But by not supporting management servers that run Windows Server 2008 or RHEL (or any other OS besides Windows Server 2003), Red Hat cuts out a huge chunk of potential customers and makes its uphill climb in the market even steeper.

Hat tip to @nickyp, who pointed out the Windows Server 2003 requirement on Twitter.

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Huh? Windows 2008 Guests ARE supported. Do the research before you post? The MANAGEMENT console needs to be 2003. Get it right!
That is what I wrote. The second and seventh paragraphs both say that these requirements are for the management servers. There's no mention of guests in this post at all.
What's the big issue then? Enterprise customers should not need more than one instantiation of the manager and can even run it within as a guest on rhel KVM. Having a manager on 2003 vs. 2008 is not a big issue. The bigger deal is requiring a closed source .net application to run the environment at all. I understand that this will be addressed though. I apologize for tone of the previous post.