Where Microsoft is Headed with Virtualization

by Chris Sanders

Mike Neil, GM of Virtualization Strategy at Microsoft wrote up a statement on the Windows Server Division blog which touched on some really interesting points in regards to where Microsoft is heading with virtualization.

Some of the highlights...

When thinking about virtualization, people so commonly just think of virtualization software (e.g. Virtual Server 2005 R2), but as Mike state's, this is only one small piece of what makes up virtualization as whole.

One of the biggest pushes with virtualization is to make it more manageable overall. What is the point of a technology that is supposed to increase business productivity if it is a management nightmare? Easier management has already come with MOM support, but the big thing on the horizon is System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

Changes in licensing of the VM technology itself are being made in order to achieve maximum interoperability with other operating systems. You have the Open Specifications Promise (OSP) model to thank for this.

Virtualization licensing is really on the ball when it comes to providing an incentive for people to think about switching to a virtualized infrastructure. The move from installation-based licensing to instance-based licensing has really led to a bang in virtualization adoption. Figure up the potential savings yourself by using the Windows OS licensing calculator.

Security is still really not where it needs to be for mass adoption of server virtualization. Work needs to be done to the virtualization layer in order to provide an extra means of data protection. There are talks of doing this through both hardware and software based solutions.

It is really great to see articles like this in regards to the future of virtualization technology. With the level of commitment Microsoft has expressed, it is clear that virtualization is not only here to stay, but that it will eventually become the de facto standard in server and client operating systems to come. Anyone who isn't using some form of virtualization in their IT strategy will be left behind by those who are.

Read Mike's full blog posting by clicking here.


2007-02-27 18:45:48
Where Microsoft is headed with virtualization:
1. Use monopoly power to put VMWare out of business. Start by changing license agreements to stall for development time on inferior free products which were mostly purchased from other companies anyway.
2. Give lip service to technologies like Xen and make shallow deals with companies like Novell so that regulators don't jump on us for step 1.
3. ???
4. Make lots of money.

Okay so I'm mostly kidding...

2007-03-10 07:57:34
Anyone serious about virtualization have passed on Virtual PC/Server. I work in Wall Street and there are tons of virtualization projects going on with VMWare as an overwhelming favorite:

1. Virtual PC is slower than VMWare, even in running MS's own Windows OSes!!!

2. The same VM image can be quickly moved to different host OSes, including Linux and even ESX server, which runs on its own without a host OS. Mac support as a host OS is also underway, with Fusion now on its second Beta release.

3. VMWare has been in the biz since 1998 exclusively doing virtualization. Virtual PC/Server is based on technology acquired by MS from Connectix in 2003. Connectix, ironically enough, was noted for its Mac products before the acquisition. Virtual PC was only one of its many products, which were primarily Mac system utilities.

4. VMWare has extensive OS support for not only Windows, but also a host of other OSes (Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, etc.). Virtual PC, in contrast only runs on Windows OSes and only officially supports Windows guests. Interestingly, Virtual PC actually supported non-Windows guests before it was acquired and intentionally crippled by MS.

5. Running Virtualization on Windows is a joke!!! What do you get when you run an unstable OS on an unstable OS, a very unstable virtual machine! In the companies I worked with, we actually run Windows as a guest on top of Linux hosts to make Windows more stable. How? The Linux host shields Windows from the outside world with a NAT setup. Also, we backup the whole machine by creating snapshots of Windows before applying changes.

I've been working in the virtualization space since the beginning, starting with VM/CMS on the mainframe, implementing several enterprise-wide PC server consolidation projects in several Fortune 100 companies and I feel its my duty to alert VM newbies that MS's offerings are a no-go....

Besides, VMWare Virtual Server and VMWare player are FREE! So why even bother with Virtual PC/Server?