Virtualization and other mechanisms of server partitioning are growing increasingly common on x86-based servers, and Microsoft will enter the game at years end, when it expects to ship its first server virtualization product.
The company is testing a prebeta release of the upcoming Microsoft Virtual Server (a product based on technology gained through Microsofts purchase of Connectix in February). It supports Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003 as host operating systems. Pricing and packaging details havent been announced yet.
During tests, Virtual Server demonstrated some compelling capabilities, particularly in the remote access department as its client/server design provides what is essentially TCP/IP-based KVM controller functionality. Virtual machines are created and managed through a Web client interface (see screen, above).
All running virtual machines are shown on the administrative tools Web page as well, along with accompanying statistics on host machine utilization. I was pleasantly surprised to note that I could control the minimum and maximum CPU percentage of the host CPU capacity that each virtual machine was allocated for its use.
Virtual Server has strong remote access features. I remotely controlled virtual machines using the popular remote control package Virtual Network Computing or Virtual Servers Internet Explorer 5.5- or 6.0-based interface (which uses a downloadable ActiveX control). Virtual Server also includes a non-browser-based remote access client application. Im happy to see such an open approach to remote virtual machine access.