Microsoft to Pursue 'Democratization' of Server Virtualization

CEO Steve Ballmer says management tools and low prices will help propel virtualization into the mainstream.

LOS ANGELES-While Microsoft is not the leader in virtualization, the company wants to drive the "democratization" of server virtualization so that its adoption will become far more widespread, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Feb. 27.

Giving the keynote address at Microsoft's "Heroes Happen {here}" event, Ballmer said this represented the launch of the company's broad virtualization strategy in earnest.

"There are a large number of things people want to virtualize," he said, and added that what differentiated the company's virtualization strategy was that it was just a component of a comprehensive management strategy.

"It's well known that we are not the market leader in server virtualization," Ballmer acknowledged, but said Microsoft wanted to make it so that server virtualization could run on 90 percent of servers rather than the less than 10 percent today.

"Our management tools and low price will help propel virtualization into the mainstream," Ballmer said, adding that Windows Server 2008 and its Hyper-V hypervisor were critical components of that effort.

But enterprises are likely to hold off deploying Windows Server 2008 until the final Hyper-V code is made available sometime in the next six months, analysts have told eWEEK.

Microsoft, which launched the latest update to its server software Feb. 27, has pushed back the release of Hyper-V and cut some of the features originally planned. While Windows Server 2008 will contain the beta bits for Hyper-V, the final product will be made available as an add-on later in 2008. That decision is likely to delay enterprise adoptions of the new server.

"We do not expect to see enterprise deployments of Windows Server 2008 of any significance until the final version of Hyper-V is out," James Staten, principal analyst at Forrester Research, told eWEEK.