Microsoft steps up virtualisation push

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Microsoft stepped up the pressure on competing virtualisation vendors at its North American 2008 Tech Ed. Conference, where the software giant disclosed several updates it said would help customers prepare to deploy virtualised infrastructure.

Microsoft said its server virtualisation validation programme, which is now operational, would allow any software vendor to test and validate its virtualisation software to run Windows Server 2008 and previous versions of Windows Server.

Microsoft general manager for Windows Server products Bill Hilf said: “We’re not trying just to concentrate on the Hyper-V aspect of virtualisation, but also grow the whole ecosystem - from managing virtual machines (VMs) using System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, to using our Forefront security system to secure both online and offline VMs.”

Microsoft added that the programme would enable it to offer, co-operative technical support to customers running Windows Server on validated, non-Microsoft server virtualisation software,.

Hilf said that this would include virtualisation systems such as those available from Citrix and Sun.

“In the same way that hardware is validated for use on server systems, let’s have a program that validates Windows Server OSes on other virtualisation platforms,” added Hilf.

Microsoft also introduced four new virtualisation certifications for desktop support technicians, database administrators and Web developers working with virtualisation technology.

Hilf pointed out that this was an important aspect of Microsoft’s virtualisation technology push, commenting that, “When you’re bringing a new technology like virtualisation in, it helps if the personnel who will have to administer it, are up to speed as well.”

Release candidate 1 (RC1) of Application Virtualisation 4.5 will be offered within the month for customers said Microsoft, and also outlined support for virtualisation with the Microsoft Forefront line of security products.

This will include Forefront Client Security support for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V upon its release, as well as support built into Microsoft’s next update of its Forefront security solution, code-named “Stirling,” scheduled for release in H1 2009.

Microsoft again iterated that its built-in virtualisation platform for Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V, was still on track for release 180 days after it was released to manufacturing on 4 February earlier this year, which would mean 4 August, confirmed Hilf.

Amongst other betas and release candidates announced at this years Tech Ed. Were, the third beta of Identity Lifecycle Manager “2”, a release candidate for Microsoft SQL Server 2008, the availability of the Dot NET Configuration Service 2.0, the first beta Forefront Security for Office Communications Server Beta 1, and that Forefront Client Security now supports Windows Server 2008, including integration for Microsoft Network Access Protection (NAP).
itweek.co.uk @ 2010 Incisive Media
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