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Virtual Server Service Pack Skates into 2007

Microsoft confirmed this week that Service Pack 1 for Virtual Server 2005 R2 will arrive in early 2007 instead of late this year, although the company says it doesn’t categorize the change as a “slip.” Instead, according to a spokesperson, Microsoft is merely able to be more precise about a delivery date as it gets closer to testing the update.

In fact, in a statement released Tuesday, the company said SP1 is currently on track to begin beta testing within 90 days, with shipment scheduled for early 2007. This is slightly changed from its previous statements that had the beta beginning two or three weeks earlier. (See “Intel, Microsoft Collaborate Virtually,” March 7, 2006.)

Probably the most significant new features to come with SP1 will be support for Intel and AMD’s hardware-based virtualization technologies.

“With the service pack, Microsoft customers will be provided with better interoperability, strengthened isolation to help prevent corruption of one virtual machine from affecting others on the same system, and improved performance for non-Windows guest operating systems,” according to Microsoft’s statement.

The service pack is the last planned update before Microsoft ships the so-called “Windows hypervisor,” to be delivered in the wave of server product releases surrounding shipment of the next version of Windows Server, code-named “Longhorn” – due in 2007.

“With Windows hypervisor technology customers will be able to run an unlimited number of virtual operating systems on one physical server running Windows Server “Longhorn” Datacenter Edition,” Microsoft’s statement added.

Virtualization has become an increasingly important part of IT budgets in just the last two or three years – so much so that the two leading CPU manufacturers have incorporated virtualization technologies into their newest processors.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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