Performance problems delay new Microsoft virtualisation software

Microsoft's plan to catch its competitors by providing virtualisation has hit a snag. The company said this week it has pushed back the release of both a beta of virtualisation technology for Windows Server and a service pack to its existing virtualisation software.

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Microsoft's plan to catch its competitors by providing virtualisation has hit a snag. The company said this week it has pushed back the release of both a beta of virtualisation technology for Windows Server and a service pack to its existing virtualisation software.

The company is struggling to meet performance and scalability targets for the new product and is also seeking to integrate support for Linux and Solaris into the package

The public beta of Windows Server virtualisation, code-named Viridian, will now ship in the second half of 2007, not in the first half, according to an entry on the Windows Server Division Weblog by Mike Neil, general manager of virtualisation at Microsoft.

Similarly, the final version of Virtual Server 2005 R2 Service Pack 1 also has been pushed back; it will be available in the second quarter. It was scheduled to be available by now. Customers and partners can download a release candidate of the service pack, a code-complete update to the current beta 2, later this month, Neil wrote.

Despite these delays, the next version of Windows Server, code-named Longhorn, is on track for a beta 3 before midyear and a release to manufacturing in the second half of the year as scheduled, according to Neil. And Windows Server virtualisation for Longhorn will be ready to go as planned 180 days after Longhorn's release.

Virtualisation is a technique that creates different, virtual versions of operating systems, servers and storage devices. The technology allows IT customers to run multiple versions of an OS on one server by running the OSes in virtual machines, a move that can be ultimately more cost-effective for data centres.

Microsoft has been working for several years to ramp up its plan to provide virtualisation, which has become a key driver of new business models and computing scenarios in data centres. As part of its strategy to meet customer demands, the company in the past 18 months has changed its virtualisation licensing for Windows Server System to make it more cost effective for customers, and began releasing Virtual Server 2005 for free, since eventually the technology in that product will be built directly into Windows Server.

Neil cited the need to hit performance and scalability targets as reasons for the delay in Windows Server virtualisation's release.

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