Microsoft's Windows XP Mode, designed to provide SMBs that upgraded to Windows 7 with last-ditch compatibility for proprietary applications that need Windows XP, no longer requires hardware virtualization technology to run. Originally announced as part of Microsoft's partnership agreement with Citrix Systems, the change could make the application more appealing to businesses keeping a tight rein on their IT budgets. Recent virtualization announcements by Microsoft, Citrix and VMware highlight how competitive the virtualization arena has become in a relatively short time frame.
Windows XP Mode no longer requires hardware virtualization technology to
run, Microsoft emphasized in a March 18 post on its official Windows blog,
the same day it
announced a new partnership with Citrix Systems.
"This change makes it extremely easy for businesses to use Windows XP
Mode to address any application incompatibility roadblocks they might have in
migrating to Windows 7," wrote Microsoft spokesperson Brandon LeBlanc. "Windows
XP Mode will of course continue to use hardware virtualization technology such
as Intel VT
(Intel Virtualization Technology) or AMD-V
The update can be downloaded from this Microsoft
In theory, at least, a reduction in the amount of virtualization
hardware would translate into streamlined IT budgeting and deployment for
smaller companies that need Windows XP Mode for a few applications.
Windows XP Mode runs applications within a virtualized Windows XP Service
Pack 3 environment, and works with Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate and
Enterprise Editions. Users are able to access applications running in Windows
XP Mode through the Windows 7 task bar by right-clicking, and can choose where
to store their Windows XP mode differencing disk files. Microsoft originally
built the application to address small and midsize businesses'
concerns about the ability of some proprietary programs to port from XP to
Microsoft has also instituted a number of other changes
to its virtualization policy.
Starting July 1, Windows Client Software
Assurance customers will be able to access Windows in a virtual environment
without needing to purchase a separate license; also starting on that date,
Windows Client Software Assurance and Virtual Desktop Access license customers
will be able to access virtualized Windows and Office applications through
non-corporate network devices, such as home PCs.
Citrix and Microsoft are also making combined use of their technology
assets, such as by applying Citrix XenDesktop's HDX technology to the
capabilities of the Microsoft RemoteFX platform.
Microsoft's other recent virtualization initiatives include its Feb. 22
release of two business-focused virtualization applications, App-V 4.6 and MED-V
10.1 SP1 Release Candidate. App-V extends 64-bit support for Microsoft's
application virtualization product to streaming applications, and MED-V
1.0 SP1 RC allows applications that either require Internet Explorer 6 or can't
be otherwise supported on Windows 7 to run in a managed virtual desktop
A more aggressive part of the Microsoft-Citrix deal comes with the companies'
offer to VMware View customers to trade in 500 licenses at no additional cost.
For its part, VMware has shifted its competitive profile by offering its VMware
VSphere Essentials product package at up to 50 percent off
the list price
through June 15. The move and countermove highlight how competitive the arenas
of server virtualization, centralized management and remote data protection
have become in recent quarters.