Microsoft Scurries to Virtualize Servers

Microsoft is ramping up its efforts to grow traction in the increasingly competitive server virtualization space, touting the newly released Virtual Server 2005 R2 and describing its first hypervisor technology, due in 2007 or so.

But rivals such as VMware and analysts are claiming that the company is too far behind to catch up anytime soon.

“The market is moving ahead of the basic hypervisor now,” said Raghu Raghuram, vice president of data center and desktop platform products for VMware, in Palo Alto, Calif.

Server virtualization will be a key theme for Microsoft during the WinHEC conference in Seattle beginning May 22. In addition, chip maker Intel will discuss its hardware-based virtualization feature, which it is incorporating this year throughout its processor lines.

Microsoft officials dismissed suggestions that they’re running behind.

Jim Ni, group product manager for server virtualization marketing at Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., said the company is meeting the current demand from customers with the new capabilities within Virtual Server 2005 Enterprise Edition, and that the hypervisor technology will be arriving just as businesses begin to ramp up their use of virtualization in production.

Ni said that while numbers show a growing number of businesses are using virtualization in production now, it’s “not pervasive for the most part.”

Users can create virtual environments in Windows deployments now and will be able to migrate those environments when Viridian is released, Ni said. The hypervisor will come out after the release of Longhorn, the next version Windows server, which is due in the second half of 2007.

Microsoft releases the first beta of Virtual Server 2005 R2 Service Pack 1. Click here to read more.

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