A Virtual Smorgasbord

After all the inroads made by VMware, Microsoft suddenly has virtualization religion, and Redmond news editor Scott Bekker has all the details. Microsoft has a decent range of tools it bought from Connectix, but that just isn’t good enough. Microsoft is working on new software from the ground-up it intends to imbed deep, deep inside the fiber of Windows. But before that happens, Microsoft will pop out a new rev of Virtual Server. R2, formerly to be free, will now cost extra but will offer better performance, more 64-bit features and formal Linux guest support.

Can Virtualization Change Everything?
Microsoft’s newest buzzword is virtualization. As we just mentioned, it now has a decent tool for PCs and another for servers. And it’s talking up new virtualization technologies for Longhorn server. Before we get to Longhorn virtualization nirvana, Microsoft is promising to change the way we buy and deploy servers, and turning your shop’s software into a service. We are a way’s away from the true promise, but I have no problem getting started now because when virtualization really takes hold, IT will spend less time repairing PowerEdges, reallocating storage and moving applications around. Instead large, tightly coupled servers will act like a utility, doling out apps like so many megawatts and freeing you to be creative and strategic (how long has it been?). Don’t let Microsoft let us down -- this promise is too important not to keep.

Affording the Virtualization Dream
A big part of Microsoft’s virtual push is to make the technology more affordable. When you segment a single device into multiple machines and then spend 10 times as much for all the OSes and apps you can run, glee turns to gloom. Redmond plans to ease that pain with more liberal licensing for you virtualization pioneers, including no charge for inactive software instances.

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Altiris To Virtualize Apps
Altiris is taking a page from VMware and Microsoft virtualization tools and applying it to apps. The Altiris Software Virtualization Solution runs apps in mini virtual machines, reducing and hopefully eliminating application conflicts (with each other and with hardware). The tool, set to ship this year, is similar in concept to SoftGrid from Softricity, which uses a streaming approach. Altiris focuses on installing the virtualized apps on the user’s machine.

Patch Times Nine
Get ready to fire up WSUS or your favorite third-party patching tool because today Microsoft is releasing nine security bulletins, with the most severe dubbed “critical.” Patches will address Windows Server and Exchange. There’s also a new rev of Microsoft anti-malware tool. (I just gave it a whirl and all is fine in the Land of Barney’s Laptop.)

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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