Update (10/16/2008): As the actual details as to what OSs and Versions of VMware ESX Server are currently supported and to what extent, please monitor the VMware page on Microsoft's SVVP from Windows Server Catalog as anything in this blog may be outdated at time of reading as we update our Certifications.
Recently VMware became the first Hypervisor to be certified under SVVP and was listed along with Cisco as certified platforms. Since then, other Hypervisor vendors have released their certifications, and there have been questions that have come up as to what the certification means. If you look at VMware's Page up on the Windows Server Catalog today, you see the following:
This shows that we have certified ESX Server version 3.5 Update 2 to run x86 based Windows Server 2008 (and below) on Opteron Platforms, and that the Virtual Machine memory size (not the ESX Server itself but the Virtual Machine) is certified to run up to 4GB. This doesn't mean other configurations won't work, it does mean, however, that this is what we certified through the Microsoft Certification Process.
This has generated some confusion with our customers, partners, and others out there as to why we have these limits where Citrix and Novell have different limits and certified platforms. Our Microsoft Alliance team has posted the following to the VMware field and has allowed me to post it on my blog trying to clarify the current situation and what our customers, partners, and others should expect to see.
Microsoft now supports their server products on VMware. This eliminates a significant barrier to adoption for many prospective customers, and makes all our customers more confident about deploying on VMware.
Since this policy change was announced, several questions have come up from VMware’s partners and customers:
1. What about Active Directory? Its not on the list.
a. Active Directory is a Server Role provided in Windows Server since Server 2000. This is similar to file services, print services, or other roles that are included in the operating system. All of these roles are supported under SVVP. Active Directory is fully supported under SVVP.
2. Why isn’t VMware certified with 64-bit versions of Windows?
a. Each SVVP run is a multi-day process. The tools provided by the qualification kit have not always worked as expected. We have worked through the learning curve, and are now doing SVVP runs continuously. We chose to certify the 32-bit version of the OS first in order to cover the large installed base of virtual machines that haven’t yet upgraded. 64-bit versions are in the queue and will begin to appear in the next few weeks. VMware ESX and ESXi products will both be supported.
3. Why isn’t ESXi certified?
a. As a new product, ESXi will be certified after ESX certification is complete. Our priorities have been placed on the larger number of users running ESX today.
4. What do the memory limits mean in the certification?
a. Certification is completed for a specific “maximum” virtual machine. The numbers shown are the biggest configuration that VMware has submitted for certification. These configurations will expand in the fourth quarter.
5. Why aren’t we certified with bigger memory limits in the virtual machine?
a. Our initial test runs were conservative to ensure that we fully understood the behavior of the qualification kit. We’re upgrading the servers soon to provide support for larger VMs. We plan to deliver certification for all our products at the maximum supportable memory limit with ESX 3.5 update 3. We will be re-certifying update 2 variants to increase the memory limit well beyond 4 GB early in the fourth quarter.
6. How long will it take for new product releases to be fully certified?
a. Our plan is to ensure that all SVVP certifications are complete within 60 days of product GA. We hope to significantly out-perform on this commitment if possible.
7. What does SVVP mean for hardware certification and the VMware HCL?
a. SVVP isn’t related to VMware’s HCL. Microsoft’s SVVP program demonstrates that a hypervisor runs Windows just like physical hardware, and is a requirement for Microsoft to offer support for Windows and other server products like they do on logoed hardware. VMware’s HCL remains the standard for determining what hardware is supported with VMware products.
8. I’ve still got questions about Microsoft support with VMware.
a. Ask your VMware representative or channel partner. VMware is happy to help you to understand the details and implications of this program, and how it helps you to deploy Microsoft products on VMware.
I hope that this clears up any confusion, and I want you to know that we are working to get our limits updated to the maximum supported limits by the current product (see response 5).