Microsoft to Deliver Windows
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As VMware steps into the virtualization limelight in San Francisco at its VMworld conference Sept. 11, Microsoft is trying to steal some of that thunder by making a number of announcements of its own.
Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., is announcing that it plans to deliver the first release candidate of Windows Server 2008 later this month.
The first Community Technology Preview of Windows Server Virtualization, code-named Viridian, will be released at the same time, Larry Orecklin, Microsofts general manager of marketing for System Center, said at a media event Sept. 10.
The company will also announce that partner Citrix Systems has committed to standardize on its VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) image format as a common run-time environment for both virtualized operating systems and applications, making it easier for mutual customers to deploy virtualization solutions, he said.
In addition, Microsoft will talk about a new installer utility for its SoftGrid Application Virtualization solution, which bridges the gap between traditional physical control of installed applications and the new paradigm of virtual applications.
Read here about how an upcoming Microsoft management application will support VMware and Xen.
While Microsoft still plans to release Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 together Feb. 27, 2008, in what will be the companys single largest launch ever, company officials acknowledged recently that Windows Server 2008 will be released to manufacturing in early 2008 rather than late 2007.
But that delay could affect the timing of Microsofts Viridian hypervisor, which the company previously said would ship 180 days after Windows Server 2008. The delay could push back the introduction of this crucial piece of technology until the end of 2008 or even 2009, said John Abbott, an analyst with The 451 Group.
But Orecklin disagreed, saying Microsoft is confident that it will still make the Feb. 27 launch date for Windows Server 2008 and that Windows Server Virtualization will be released within 180 days of that date.
Read here why Microsoft delayed the RTM of Windows Server 2008.
Any delay in Windows Server Virtualization gives VMware, of Palo Alto, Calif., more time “to consolidate its already huge market lead” in the virtualization space, Abbott said.
He also said Microsoft might be having trouble scaling up the hypervisor for the enterprise space. “It may be harder than they expected,” he said. That, in turn, could lead Microsoft to strengthen its ties with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Citrix, which recently moved to buy open-source virtualization technology vendor XenSource.
Microsoft, Citrix Expand Partnership
Microsoft and Citrix already are expanding their partnership, with Citrix having committed to standardize on Microsofts VHD image format as a common run-time environment for both virtualized operating systems and applications.
As a result, future versions of Citrixs Presentation Server, Desktop Server and virtual appliance solutions will adopt Microsofts VHD format, while Microsoft plans to adapt a future version of its SoftGrid Application Virtualization for both the desktop and Terminal Services to the VHD format, David Roussain, vice president for Citrixs virtualization systems group, told eWEEK.
Will Microsoft buy the new Citrix? Click here to read more.
“By standardizing on a common virtualization format for both operating systems and applications, Microsoft and Citrix will enable customers to run interoperable solutions that can be centrally managed using our technologies,” he said.
Asked about Microsofts history of publishing competing standards that many felt were not open, Roussain said the company published the standard to open up the market to as many players as possible and create an ecosystem around it.
“Microsoft wants to offer people choice, and it is enabling that here,” he said. “Citrix is helping promote choice and setting the groundwork for the explosion of virtualization as it goes mainstream. The next big billion-dollar business for us is desktop virtualization, and we are aggressively working on the technology for that.”
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The acquisition of XenSource, which supports VHD as its native run-time format for virtual machines, will extend Citrixs capabilities into both server and desktop virtualization, Roussain said.
Microsoft and Citrix will also collaborate on emerging virtualization technologies and virtual infrastructure management tools to help ensure interoperability and simplified administration for end users.
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