GCN Insider | Microsoft goes virtually ga-ga

TRENDS & TECHNOLOGIES that affect the way government does IT

There was a time in the go-go dot-com days that a company would come out with a good product, take it around to editors, then get snapped up by Microsoft Corp. It's about to happen again. At its Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Seattle last month, Microsoft said it would buy Boston-based Softricity Inc. [GCN.com., GCN.com/575]. Softricity develops an application virtualization and streaming technology called the SoftGrid Desktop Virtualization Platform. Microsoft believes this type of deployment model could help agencies that transition to Windows Vista, when the enterprise version of the OS comes out later this year.

In fact, Microsoft is making a significant play for the virtualization market [see GCN's recent story on virtualization at GCN.com/585]. Bob Muglia, Microsoft's senior vice president for servers and tools, said, 'As we see higher and higher performance available in the x86 and x64 hardware, customers tell us that they want to get the most performance and flexibility out of their hardware in order to maximize their server investment.'

Also at WinHEC, Muglia gave updates on Windows Server Virtualization and System Center Virtual Machine Manager (formerly code-named 'Carmine'). The former is scheduled to come out in beta by the end of the year and in final version within six months of the next-generation Longhorn Windows Server software. The company said agencies currently using Virtual Server 2005 would be able to seamlessly migrate their virtual machines to the new system.

The product formerly known as Carmine is a centralized management system for virtualized data centers. A beta version is due out in a few months.

Can't get enough of Microsoft and virtualization? The company is also beta testing Service Pack 1 of its Virtual Server 2005 R2 software. The service pack includes support for hardware-assisted virtualization built into processors from Advanced Micro Devices and Intel Corp. The free SP1 should be out the first part of next year.

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