Microsoft Forges Smart Partnerships

Opinion: Pairings with Winternals and XenSource should bolster the company's catalog.

Microsoft made a great move July 18 when it acquired Winternals Software, a purveyor of Windows diagnostic software, including the Sysinternals line of freeware utilities.

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of using the Sysinternals tools while laboring to identify the source of a mysterious slowdown crippling the Windows XP-based laptop of a friend of mine. With the view that Sysinternals offered into the inner workings of Microsofts typically closed operating system, I was able to track down the trouble—a corrupt Windows Update log file that the system kept trying to read, causing the drive to thrash endlessly.

At the time, I thought that the Sysinternals tools were the sorts of things Microsoft should be building itself, and its good to see that Microsoft appreciates their value. Making the deal all the sweeter is the fact that it was Winternals developer Mark Russinovich who brought to light Sonys rootkit DRM (digital rights management) scheme—all in all, an excellent move by Microsoft.

The other smart Microsoft move to catch my eye was the companys July 17 announcement of a partnership with XenSource, the commercial arm of the Xen hypervisor project. While Microsoft doesnt appear to be adopting Xens hypervisor for use in future versions of Windows, Microsoft and XenSource have agreed to work together on interoperability between Xen and Microsofts own (as yet unseen) hypervisor technology.

Im a big fan of virtualization on commodity hardware because it enables companies to get more out of their investments while leaving them free to opt, where most fitting, for a mix of operating system platforms on a single machine. Ill hold off on further breathlessness over this announcement until we begin seeing its fruit, but the bridge-building move by Microsoft is certainly encouraging.

Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here for reader response to this article.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.