Microsoft Corp. is giving customers an early look at the code for its Virtual Server product, acquired when the company bought the virtual machine assets of Connectix Corp. in February.
One of the motivations behind the acquisition was to offer a solution that would let customers continue to run Windows NT 4.0 line-of-business applications in a virtual machine alongside the new Windows Server 2003 software, said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Bill Veghte.
In an interview this week, Alfredo Pizzirani, group product manager in Microsoft Windows Server Group, in Redmond, Wash., said that there has been a lot of customer interest in the product.
"We are responding ... and making the current version of the product available at betaplace.com," said Pizzirani. "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."
For example, the virtual machine code does not yet allow for a virtual SCSI drive to be created, but that capability will be in place by the final release, Pizzirani said.
Microsoft is targeting NT 4.0 customers running legacy applications with the Virtual Server technology, which will allow them to use virtualization to run legacy applications on Windows Server 2003, released last month.
While virtualization technology can be useful in some situations, its not a technology to solve all customer problems, Pizzirani said, but it is suited to those departmental line-of-business applications running on NT 4.0.
"These applications did not have large transactional volumes and were important to one part of the business but not mission-critical for the company as a whole," Pizzirani said.
Microsoft is considering a code refresh, or beta, in the summer, and it is likely that this will be made available to all interested parties. The Windows Virtual Server development team is hoping for a product release before the end of the year, Pizzirani said.