Microsoft is fast tracking virtualisation, making improvements to its hypervisor-based and System Centre Virtual Machine Manager systems as well as acquiring a company that specialises in application virtualisation solutions.
At its recent Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, Microsoft announced that its hypervisor Windows Server virtualisation system is on track to be available with the upcoming and eagerly awaited Microsoft Windows Server Longhorn operating system. Microsoft anticipates having a beta release of Windows Server virtualisation by the end of 2006 and plans to release to manufacturing (RTM) within 180 days of Longhorn’s RTM.
In addition Microsoft announced that its System Centre Virtual Machine Manager will be due for beta release by September 2006 with RTM in the second half of 2007. Formerly codenamed Carmine, this technology is a centralised, enterprise management system for the virtualised datacentre.
Yet most intriguingly, Microsoft has also announced that it will not rely on organic growth to develop its virtualisation options and proof of this comes in the acquisition of virtualisation solutions specialist Softricity. Softricity offers the SoftGrid Desktop Virtualization Platform, which turns almost all Windows applications into a service using application virtualisation and streaming software technologies. Microsoft says that such application virtualisation and streaming technologies provide application compatibility and will accelerate corporate desktop transitions to Windows Vista.
“Microsoft’s virtualisation strategy contrasts with current alternatives for virtual machine management, which tend to be complex, expensive and require specialised skills,” says Bob Muglia, Microsoft’s senior vice-president of the Server and Tools Business.
“We look at virtualisation as key technology to help customers achieve self-managing dynamic systems. Across the platform, operating system, applications and management layers we’re delivering functionality and capabilities that enable our customers to significantly reduce operating costs, drive up server utilisation and achieve better ROI through full featured virtualisation solutions.”