Novell and Intel have announced the availability of paravirtualised network and block device drivers that will allow Microsoft Windows Server 2000/2003/XP to run unmodified in Xen virtual environments on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 from Novell, operating on Intel-based server platforms featuring Intel Virtualisation Technology.

Combined with the existing ability to host unmodified Linux on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, these new drivers will let customers confidently migrate to newer and fewer energy-efficient servers, consolidating legacy Windows or Linux solutions onto virtual servers.
“With our SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 platform launch in July 2006, Novell became the first major Linux distributor to integrate Xen virtualisation into a Linux distribution,” says Jeff Jaffe, Novell executive vice-president and chief technology officer.
“In September, we became the first distribution to support virtualised Linux workloads on Xen, and today we are the first distributor to support virtualised Windows workloads on Linux. Our commitment to innovation to solve customer problems has never been greater.”
Doug Fisher, Intel vice-president of Software and Solutions Group, adds: "Intel has been working with the open source community to enable Linux virtualisation solutions to take advantage of Intel Virtualisation Technology, so that guest operating systems and applications can run unmodified.
In addition, our quad-core Intel Xeon Processor-based platform with its outstanding performance, energy efficiency and reliability provides unparalleled headroom for multiple Virtual Machines running varied data center workloads. Getting Windows to run with Linux unmodified and vice versa will bring an immense confidence boost to IT managers in making decisions on corporate platform standardisation and refresh.”
In addition to providing cost savings when virtualising Windows on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, these drivers can improve the availability of Windows- and Linux-based workloads via clustered virtual systems and help IT staff respond faster to business needs by easily creating and provisioning services on virtual systems.
Novell is sponsoring a virtualisation pilot program for customers, providing enterprise-level support for running fully virtualised Windows 2000/2003/XP workloads on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. The paravirtualised device drivers are now available to members of the pilot program. General availability is scheduled for later this year.