Windows Server Hyper-V Now Supports FreeBSD

Microsoft joined Citrix and NetApp to announce that Windows Server Hyper-V now supports the FreeBSD operating system.

Microsoft and partners NetApp and Citrix have announced the availability of FreeBSD support for Windows Server Hyper-V.

This collaboration, announced at BSDCAN 2012 in May, will help more customers adopt virtualization and move toward cloud computing, said Doug Mahugh, a senior technical evangelist at Microsoft Open Technologies, in an Aug. 9 blog post. Microsoft said it is committed to supporting multiple platforms with its server virtualization solution so that more organizations can take advantage of server consolidation cost-savings and build foundations for private, public and hybrid cloud computing.

"This release includes 8,500 lines of code submitted under the BSD license, supporting FreeBSD 8.2 on Windows Server 2008 R2," said Anandeep Pannu, senior program manager at Microsoft's Open Source Technical Center, in a post. "We will continue to work with the community to support other releases of FreeBSD as well. Analysis is currently under way to assess customer demand and partner capacity to extend support to FreeBSD 9.0 on Windows Server 2012."

"For Microsoft, the project breaks new ground-it's the first project supporting open-source development alongside commercial partners like NetApp and Citrix," Pannu wrote in a post from May. "Also, the FreeBSD community is a new relationship for us relative to other open-source communities that we've worked with for years."

Pannu said it was "invaluable" to have partners NetApp and Citrix, both users of and contributors to FreeBSD, be so knowledgeable about how to enable their products to run on Hyper-V. Microsoft partnered with Insight Global on developing the VMBUS driver, which is the core that interfaces between the guest operating system and the host Windows Server Hyper-V hypervisor, he said. "From the earliest stages, the code was intended to be open-source, with the goal of incorporating it into the core of FreeBSD. This drove decisions such as using Github as the software-development infrastructure."

FreeBSD is the latest in a growing list of open-source operating systems and open-source cloud projects that work with Hyper-V, including SUSE, CentOS, Red Hat, Cs2C, OpenStack and OpenNebula, Mahugh said. "This wide range of options makes it easier for customers to take advantage of server virtualization, enabling a variety of cloud computing and hybrid computing scenarios," he said.

The source code can be found on Github here, and instructions for building from the source and running the drivers can be found here, Pannu said.