Virtualization Vendors Chat About Challenges

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That's the take of XenSource vice president of marketing John Bara. Looking around the stage he was sharing with those same vendors, Bara hedged, intimating that so far, everyone's been playing nice on the open source Xen Project.

And so the evening went. Anyone looking for fireworks at Tuesday's AMD-hosted "Flavors of Virtualization" panel in San Francisco had to have been disappointed. The discussion between representatives of AMD, Microsoft, VMware, Sun Microsystems, SWsoft and XenSource was collegial, with little disagreement amongst the participants.

Rather than pile on, the panelists offered sympathetic chuckles as Microsoft's Bob Tenczar bore the brunt of audience questions about how to license virtual iterations of software applications. Tenczar, director of product management in the Windows Server Division, admitted virtualization poses new challenges to the software industry.

"Licensing is a broad challenge. Virtualization has unlocked software from hardware, but the world is not virtualized yet, and it'll be some time before that happens," Tenczar said.

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Microsoft, he said, had already changed licensing agreements with its SQL server and data center products, licensing the physical entities rather than the operating systems.

VMware's Patrick Lin, meanwhile, spoke cryptically of "initiatives underway" to make virtual machines that work with multiple operating systems. Bara and Sun's Joost Pronk van Hoogeveen promised that their companies would never be part of setting per-core price structures for multi-core chips.

SWsoft COO Jack Zubarev got off the most promising line of the night -- calling out one rival as "the most ignorant about virtualization." But alas, he was talking about Oracle, which had no representatives at the discussion.