If you think that Microsoft's products don't play nice with others, it's time for a fresh look at the facts. Here are five myths about Microsoft and interoperability, and the truth behind the rumours.
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MYTH: Microsoft wants you to use nothing but Microsoft products
REALITY: Microsoft is a competitive player in a heterogeneous world
"The truth is that customers buy from a diverse set of vendors and Microsoft doesn't make all the products that customers use," says Rob Evans, Platform Strategy Lead for Microsoft Australia. "Interoperability is key." Virtualisation using Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012 means that it's easier than ever for customers to run a variety of operating systems in their environment.
"We believe our solutions are competitive and it makes sense to use them together, but the ultimate choice is for the customer to make, and it's our role to support whatever platforms and tools they need for their business," Evans says.
MYTH: Microsoft doesn't support open source
REALITY: Microsoft is a strong supporter of open source Through its Openness initiative, Microsoft has promoted the use of open source, and contributed millions of lines of source code to open source projects. Its CodePlex site also offers open source project hosting.
MYTH: It's difficult to interoperate with Microsoft products
REALITY: Interoperability is a core design consideration
Interoperability is a core part of the design of Windows Server 2012. ""We don't limit what customers can do with our products based on some arbitrary requirement," Evans said.
One of the key elements driving interoperability is the ability to script virtually every element of Windows Server 2012 via PowerShell. "Off the mark, everything is PowerShell-enabled, and there's an Open API for everything," explains Datacentre Technical Specialist Reid Purvis. "Everything is addressable, and those APIs aren't limited by arbitrary rules You can build on top of it."
In the same way, the Hyper-V Extensible Switch makes it easy to interoperate with a wide range of networking equipment and manage from a single platform.
MYTH: Microsoft doesn't back open standards
REALITY: Microsoft is a key open standards player "If there exists a standard to do something, we will use the standard," Evans explains. "We will only invent protocols or file types where a standard doesn't exist." Further proof: Microsoft has more than 1000 employees working on open standards projects.
MYTH: Microsoft's Azure cloud platform ties you to Windows products and Microsoft standards
REALITY: Azure is an open platform
"Openness in interacting with other systems is a key factor," says Microsoft Australia Senior Consultant Rocky Heckman. "Windows Azure is designed to be interoperable from the ground up." It also supports coding in a wide variety of languages, including Python, Ruby and PHP.
One of the benefits of System Center 2012 is the ability to manage multiple platforms. "All the capabilities offered with System Center reach out to the cloud as well," Heckmmain said. "It's all about that interoperability from a customer perspective. Our licensing approach on this is very flexible as well. It opens up a lot of opportunity for customers, services partners and ISVs. We're not living in a world where things are going to be fixed."