Microsoft may be blocked from advertising its virtualization offerings on the convention floor at VMworld 2009, but Redmond has nonetheless announced a virtualization management package for SMBs along with partners Fujitsu and Lenovo. As the virtualization market increases and becomes the scene of fiercer competition, Microsoft, VMware and Citrix could all benefit financially.
is offering a new software license, called Microsoft System Center Essentials
Management Suite, which combines Microsoft System Center Essentials 2007 and
Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 into a virtualization
management package for small to medium-size businesses.
"We're helping midsize organizations optimize IT productivity and
manage desktops and servers through a single management console," said Brad
Anderson, corporate vice president of the Management and Services Division at
Microsoft. "We're partnering with Fujitsu, Lenovo and other OEMs so
customers can work with familiar and proven solution providers.
"Together," he added, "we're delivering a solution that has
been built and packaged to address the needs of these customers-an easy-to-use,
integrated solution that helps reduce IT costs and streamline control of
physical and virtual desktops and servers."
The license will also allow customers to acquire System Center Essentials
2010, when released in the second quarter of 2010, without needing to
repurchase that program. System Center Essentials 2010 "will include
functionality of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2," according
Microsoft's Sept. 1 announcement came in the midst of VMworld 2009, where
VMware has rolled out a number of virtualization services-including Go, a
zero-cost service intended to help both SMBs and larger companies install ESXi,
VMware's free hypervisor. ESXi is intended to help those organizations
streamline the virtualization of their IT infrastructure.
Microsoft, while present at the event, is contractually muzzled from
competing directly with VMware on the convention floor. Its competitive
solution, it seems, is to attempt to persuade customers to sign on for a
software license that, in turn, will on-ramp into Redmond's
Nonetheless, clearly viewing VMware as a major force within the
virtualization space, Microsoft
has taken steps in the past to support the company's technology
. Its System
Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 includes support for VMware ESX
According to a March report from research firm Gartner, the worldwide
revenue for hosted virtual desktops, which are run as virtual machines on an
enterprise server and accessible by end users via a remote device, will grow
from around $1.5 billion in 2009 to $65.7 billion in 2013. The
report suggested that VMware, Citrix and Microsoft will all benefit from this