Cisco unveils a server virtualization appliance, the hypervisor still a mystery

The Microsoft Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP), officially launched in June, continues to raise a lot of interest because of the members that currently adheres it.

Cisco appeared in the list in August but so far nor the company neither Microsoft clarified the reason as Cisco doesn’t seem to have a hypervisor. But last week Cisco and Microsoft made a joint announcement unveiling Windows Server on WAAS.

WAAS (Wide Area Application Services) is a network appliance that Cisco offers since a while.
It’s designed to run at branch offices, offering optimization for most protocols (including mail, file transfer, web, backup, video streaming, etc.).


The newest version, 4.1, of WAAS, also introduces a hardware virtualization engine labeled WAVE (Wide Area Virtualization Engine), which places several instances of Windows Server 2008 Server Core into virtual machines (called Virtual Blades here).

The adhesion to the SVVP program allowed Cisco to run Active Directory, DNS, DHCP and Print Services roles as validated virtual machines on WAVE, but the company stay mum about what virtualization engine is really powering the solution.

In March Information Week suggested that Cisco was using the open source KVM (now indirectly controlled by Red Hat through the acquisition of Qumranet) to virtualize two redundant instances of the IOS inside the new ASR 1000 routers, but this rumor was denied by Cisco in the following weeks.

Maybe this time (even if it’s very hard to believe that Microsoft validated a Windows Server 2008 guest hosted by Linux and KVM)?