Microsoft Virtual Server Eases Migrations

Microsoft is offering a preview of the pre-beta code for its Virtual Server, which will enable customers to run NT 4 business applications as a virtual machine alongside Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft Corp. is giving customers a preview of the pre-beta code for its Virtual Server, which it acquired when it bought the virtual machine assets of Connectix Corp. in February.

At that time Bill Veghte, a Microsoft corporate vice president, told eWEEK that one of the motivations behind the move was to be able to offer a solution that would let the companys customers running a Windows NT 4 line of business applications continue to run these as a virtual machine alongside its latest Windows Server 2003 product family.

While there were things Veghte could do on the tool side, with imaging, "the piece that I really needed was the ability to run all the NT 4 business applications out there as a virtual machine," he said.

"The only way I know how to guarantee compatibility for those NT 4 applications is to build off of Connectix, which uses COM interfaces. They also use our Win32 APIs pretty aggressively and they use our driver subsystems, so it was a very good fit," he said.

In an interview with eWEEK this week, Alfredo Pizzirani, a group product manager in Microsofts Windows Server group, said that there had been a lot of customer interest around the product.

"So we are responding to those and making the current version of the product available at www.betaplace.com using code VSCP. 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 as yet," he said.

An example of missing functionality: The virtual machine code does not allow for a virtual SCSI drive to be created as yet, but that will be in place by the final release, Pizzirani said.