Users Get Peek at Virtual Server

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-05-12 Print this article Print

Microsoft Corp. is giving customers an early look at the code for its Virtual Server product, acquired when the company bought the virtual machine assets of Connectix Corp. in February.

Microsoft Corp. is giving customers an early look at the code for its Virtual Server product, acquired when the company bought the virtual machine assets of Connectix Corp. in February.

One of the motivations behind the acquisition was to offer a solution that would let customers continue to run Windows NT 4.0 line-of-business applications in a virtual machine alongside the new Windows Server 2003 software, said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Bill Veghte.

In an interview this week, Alfredo Pizzirani, group product manager in Microsoft Windows Server Group, in Redmond, Wash., said that there has been a lot of customer interest in the product.

"We are responding ... and making the current version of the product available at," said Pizzirani. "But the caveat is that at this point, it is not performance-optimized or feature-complete, so customers should not use it for benchmarking or put it into production."

For example, the virtual machine code does not yet allow for a virtual SCSI drive to be created, but that capability will be in place by the final release, Pizzirani said.

Microsoft is targeting NT 4.0 customers running legacy applications with the Virtual Server technology, which will allow them to use virtualization to run legacy applications on Windows Server 2003, released last month.

While virtualization technology can be useful in some situations, its not a technology to solve all customer problems, Pizzirani said, but it is suited to those departmental line-of-business applications running on NT 4.0.

"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.

Microsoft is considering a code refresh, or beta, in the summer, and it is likely that this will be made available to all interested parties. The Windows Virtual Server development team is hoping for a product release before the end of the year, Pizzirani said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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