Microsoft Releases Virtual Server Beta

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-02-18 Print this article Print

Microsoft on Wednesday offered the first beta for its Virtual Server 2004 to a select group of customers. The company said it expects the technology to become available by July.

Microsoft Corp. has released the first beta for its Virtual Server 2004 to a select group of customers and expects the product to be generally available in the first half of this year. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., in February acquired the Virtual Machine assets of Connectix Corp., a privately held company in San Mateo, Calif., that has been involved in Virtual Machine (VM) technology since its inception in 1988. Since then, the engineers in Redmond have been putting Virtual Server through a security review as well as adding new features and functionality such as SCSI support, dual-node clustering, improved control through an enhanced Com API (application programming interface), as well as integration with the Windows Server management infrastructure, like Microsoft Operations Manager and Active Directory. Click here to read more about Windows Server integration.
Eric Berg, the group product manager for Windows Server in Redmond, Wash., told eWEEK in an interview on Wednesday that the beta program consisted of some 30 joint development partners and 15,000 users who had signed up for its early customer preview program last year. "We expect the product to be released to manufacturing by the middle of this year," he said.
"This is a virtual machine solution for Windows Server 2003 that spans development, test and production environments, and delivers improved hardware efficiency and increased productivity for administrators and developers as it will be far easier to deploy and manager these machines in that environment," he said. Targeted production environments included those customers who wanted to migrate their legacy business applications, which could be currently running on Windows 2000 or NT 4.0. "This way they can run that application in a virtual machine on top of Windows Server 2003," Berg said. Virtual Server 2004 will also allow customers to run multiple operating systems concurrently on a single x86 hardware server, including Linux and Unix-based operating systems. "If you think about the architecture, you have Windows Server 2003, Virtual Server as the virtualization layer running on top, and then you create the individual virtual machines," Berg described. "Well, that virtual machine is an x86 server, so it will support a broad range of x86 operating systems that can run in that environment. So you can run Linux and Unix and other operating systems in that environment," he said. But Microsoft was going to do its work and tune the performance around Windows so that experience will be very good for the customer. At the same time, customers will be able to run other operating systems there, Berg said, adding that Microsoft would not support these other operating systems and applications. Next Page: Virtualization Meets the Core Window Kernel?

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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