Microsoft to develop new VHD specifications

Quoting from SearchServerVirtualization:

Microsoft’s first program to spur creation of Virtual Hard Disk-based appliances is going well, but partners want more out of this good thing. Those attending WinHEC today asked for a number of improvements, including fewer Windows distribution restrictions, VHD (virtual hard disk) format updates and more.

Panelists also clamored for the ability to distribute mountable VHDs. Microsoft’s Neil said Windows Server Virtualization (“Viridian”) includes that feature, and that the company would consider adding in that capability to its current Virtual Server product. “I think we should definitely do that,” he said.

One way to make VHDs more useful, panelists said, would be to add metadata to the VHD that described its operating system, resource and application requirements. That, in turn, would make virtual appliances easier to update and catalog.

Another useful innovation would be to integrate the VHD format into software development environments, said Dave McCrory, CTO at Inovawave, a virtual machine performance optimization firm that distributes VHDs of virtual appliances running with or without its software, for comparison purposes.

…Microsoft is working out VHD’s position vis à vis other image formats such as the Composite UI Application Block (CAB) and Windows Imaging (WIM), a packaging format that includes compression, but unlike VHD, cannot be executed.

Look for these issues to be resolved in a second version of VHD to ship in the Longhorn timeframe.

Read the whole article at source.

Metadata addition adn update capabilities for virtual hard drives are not new needs in the virtualization industry: Enomaly pioneered both concepts with its VMcasting technology.