Microsoft launches raft of virtualisation tools

Microsoft has made a flurry of announcements on its virtualisation offerings, including System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 and the new Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008.

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Microsoft has made a flurry of announcements on its virtualisation offerings, including System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 and the new Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008.

The standalone version Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, a hypervisor-based server virtualisation product, will be available as a free download within 30 days. Previously, the company has been charging US$28 for a stand-alone version that could be downloaded from Microsoft's site. The move echoes VMware's decision in July to do the same with its ESXi hypervisor.

Neil Sanderson, head of virtualisation at Microsoft UK, said: "The virtualisation industry is dynamic and rapidly changing. Given that there are other stand-alone hypervisor-based server virtualisation products that are available for free in the market Microsoft has determined that Microsoft Hyper-V server will be available for free."

Microsoft said the Hyper-V product provides a simplified, reliable, and optimised virtualisation system that allows customers to consolidate Windows or Linux workloads onto a single physical server.

"Now is the time for customers to get virtual," said Bob Kelly, Microsoft corporate vice-president of infrastructure server marketing. "With desktop and datacentre virtualisation offerings available from Microsoft and its partners, customers are adopting Microsoft solutions because they have better value and will make IT operations more dynamic."

Also within the next 30 days, Microsoft will release System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, which gives administrators the ability to manage both physical and virtual servers, and can also handle management of VMware's ESX.

Last week, Microsoft released Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5, alongside changes to its licensing arrangements. Application Virtualization 4.5 is designed to enhance desktops using Windows Vista by streaming resource-heavy applications to the desktop. The product will be included as part of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2008 R2, which is due for general availability in the coming weeks.

Microsoft kicked off a series of “Get Virtual Now” events around the world last month to promote its virtualisation offerings.

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