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Ballmer grins and bears Linux--a little

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Ballmer said Wednesday that Microsoft has listened to customers who've demanded better support for non-Windows machines in Operations Manager software, Microsoft's key management product. Also, he said, the company will step up support for running Linux-based virtual machines in a service pack update to its Virtual Server product later this year.

A Microsoft representative demonstrated Virtual Server running instances of Red Hat Enterprise Linux as Ballmer delivered a keynote speech at a management conference on Wednesday.

"Much as that hurts my eyes, I know that's an important capability for our Virtual Server customers," Ballmer said, speaking at the Microsoft Management Summit 2005 in Las Vegas.
Although the current version allows someone to run Linux or another operating system, Microsoft plans with the update to add support when customers run into trouble with a non-Windows operating system.

The company also showed Microsoft Operations Manager, or MOM, controlling Solaris servers. Ballmer pulled out the fans from a Solaris box to show the resulting alert messages that pop up inside the MOM console.

Using MOM to oversee the Solaris box occurred via the WS-Management Web services standard, meaning that no special software was needed for the management program to identify the Windows machine. A reverse demonstration could also have been done. "Just as easily, Solaris could manage a Windows box using the same protocol," said Bob Kelly, Microsoft's general manager of infrastructure server marketing.

Still, Kelly said Microsoft's goal is to make sure Windows is the most cost-effective way to manage any number of Windows and non-Windows systems.

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