Cisco, Microsoft Discuss Aligning Virtualization Efforts

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-08-20 Print this article Print

Cisco and Microsoft executives say their virtualization technology programs are complementary, not adversarial.

NEW YORK—The work Microsoft and Cisco Systems are doing with virtualization is highly complementary, Ciscos chief development officer Charlie Giancarlo said August 20. In an interview with eWEEK along with Bob Muglia, Microsofts senior vice president for server and tools, Giancarlo said Cisco was looking at virtualizing the network hardware environment, including the processors in the data center and the communications framework. The interview followed a discussion held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel here in New York between Cisco CEO John Chambers and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on the growing need for them to work together and to have their technologies interoperate.
"We also want to make that much more efficient and effective than it is today by lowering the latency, improving the switching times between the different processors and really removing the hardware layer from a differentiation standpoint with regard to the software," he said.
"That means the links between processors will look as if they are the same, creating a manageable environment underneath and providing those links up to the virtual machine layer," he said. For its part, Microsoft was working closely with Cisco to understand the evolution of the networking architecture for virtualization, a space which held a lot of opportunity for device-level virtualization, Muglia told eWeek. Read more here about why Cisco CEO John Chambers believes that virtualization will spur the next wave of networking. "Our investments are really in the operating system virtualization and the hypervisor attached to that, as well as in the management of that. We have some new tools set to ship later this month, and so we are really beginning to build a very competitive offering in this space," he said. But less than five percent of all existing servers were virtualized today and the run rate for new servers was less than 10 percent. "I see a world where the majority of servers will be virtualized and we are feeling really good about the infrastructure we are building," he said. Click here to read more about the core features Microsoft cut from its Viridian hypervisor technology. Asked if he thought the delay in the release of its hypervisor technology would negatively affect its adoption, Muglia said that customers would choose the product that provided gave them the lowest total cost of ownership. He was also confident that the Microsoft infrastructure would achieve that, Muglia said, as it would not only drive volume for customers, but it would be able to standardize on a consistent management architecture, which was important as customers currently had to manage a virtualized environment separate from the way they managed the application environment. "That is completely not our approach, which is rather to have a consistent management architecture that works throughout the entire stack. That certainly includes the virtualization, application and operating system management," he said. Cisco recently invested $150 million in VMware. Click here to read more. The work Microsoft was doing with Cisco was extending that to the networking environment, while the software maker was also working with EMC on a new industry standard known as Service Modeling Language, Muglia said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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