Microsoft sets virtualisation free

Occasionally I blog about IT news items that interest me but I can’t cover everything (or even everything in my field of interest) due to time constraints. One thing I didn’t mention when the news broke a few weeks back was Microsoft’s release of Virtual Server 2005 R2 as a free download. This follows on from Microsoft’s licensing changes for Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition and VMware’s move to make VMware Server (formerly VMware GSX) a free of charge product.

Interestingly, Microsoft has also released virtual machine additions for certain Linux distributions, which I feel is a real sign that Virtual Server is ready to take on VMware Server (don’t compare Virtual Server with Virtual PC – despite their virtual machine compatibility the two products are worlds apart). I’m not saying that Virtual Server is best for every situation – in many ways the VMware products are more mature – but Virtual Server is a serious option for those organisations running predominantly Microsoft environments.

We can also expect to see Virtual Server 2005 R2 service pack 1 released in early 2007 (a beta is due later this year), providing support for virtualisation in hardware. Further out, virtualisation software will move into the operating system within the Longhorn Server timeframe (along with Microsoft finally releasing a competitor to VMware ESX Server – codenamed Viridian).

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