Microsoft is targeting Windows NT 4.0 customers running legacy business applications with the Virtual Server technology, which will allow them to use virtualization to still run these on , released last month. While virtualization technology can be extremely useful in some situations, it is not a technology that solves all customer problems. It is, however, particularly suited to those departmental lines of business applications running on Windows NT 4.0.But customers are not looking at a virtual solution for enterprise applications like those from SAP and PeopleSoft, which are critical to keeping businesses operating and have high transactional volumes. Customers want to put these applications directly on the hardware so there are no performance lag; they could also cluster it so there is failover and they are isolated from hardware failure and/or other problems, he added. Other traditional server uses such as for file and print also do not benefit from the virtual machine scenario, he said. "The technology is going to help primarily with the moving of legacy applications up to the current version of the operating system. The other thing it will help with is server consolidation, where these legacy business applications use only some 10 percent of the server that they run on. People are thus looking at consolidating that. "Now, as you know, the applications do not really coexist well on the same server as frequently they were not written for that, so virtual machine technology can help them with that," Pizzirani said.
"These applications did not have large transactional volumes and were important to one part of the business but not mission-critical for the company as a whole," Pizzirani said.