Microsoft’s promised September virtualization fest kicked off today as they started a global series of “Get Virtual Now” marketing events, but the big news is that their Hyper-V virtualization server is now a free download and will be shipping within 30 days as will Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008.
Admittedly, Hyper-V Server 2008 was only a $28 add-on to Windows Server 2008, but the puzzle is why it wasn’t free in the first place. As to why it is free at all, Microsoft is trying to launch their fledgling in the face of VMware’s current hold on the virtualization market and if the Hyper-V features are "good enough," free seals the deal. VMware is not oblivious however and has their own free entry offerings.
The traditional weakness of Microsoft’s system management software has been that no matter how good it was for managing Microsoft systems, it didn’t play in the heterogeneous environments that predominate in large enterprises. Yesterday, Microsoft stepped up to that challenge with public betas of new heterogeneous environment enhancements for their flagship data center management products, Operations Manager and Virtual Machine Manager:
Microsoft today announced the availability of a public beta for System Center Operations Manager 2007 Cross Platform Extensions, which build on the existing Operations Manager 2007 technology and capabilities and are designed to help customers extend the value of their Microsoft System Center investments. Providing customers with a comprehensive management solution, this new end-to-end IT systems monitoring capability incorporates industry standards and proven open source technologies, including Web Services for Management (WS-Management) and OpenPegasus, extending the capabilities across both physical and virtualized Windows and non-Windows operating systems and applications. Microsoft delivers the core foundational cross-platform support out of the box for HP-UX, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Sun Solaris and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating systems so that partners can focus on adding their deep domain expertise in the form of management packs. Companies such as Novell Inc., Quest Software Inc. and Xandros Inc. have demonstrated their support by working to deliver monitoring abilities for applications made by organizations such as The Apache Software Foundation, MySQL AB and Oracle.
Further demonstrating support for its commitment to OpenPegasus, Microsoft also announced today that it will be joining the OpenPegasus Steering Committee and contribute code back to the open source community under the Microsoft Public License, an Open Source Initiative (OSI)-approved license.
Microsoft also delivered a beta of the updated System Center Operations Manager 2007 Connectors, based on many of the same extensible open source technology and industry standards as the Cross Platform Extensions, which provide an integrated administrative experience and the ability to interoperate and exchange System Center monitoring data with third-party management offerings such as HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli Enterprise Console.
Also delivered today was the public beta of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (formerly code-named “Virtual Machine Manager vNext”), which enables customers to configure and deploy new virtual machines and to centrally manage their virtualized infrastructure, whether running on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 or VMware ESX Server.
The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, of course, but Microsoft clearly is making a serious run at the traditional enterprise system management vendors like HP and IBM. If you want to try the free samples, all three betas are downloadable at Microsoft Connect.
In addition to the Windows Server 2008 version menu revealed at TechEd IT Forum 2007, Microsoft also announced the general availability of three System Center products and the November CTP for SQL Server 2008. The System Center releases are:
For some arcane reason it didn’t merit a press release, but yesterday Microsoft released System Center Virtual Machine Manager to manufacturing. Microsoft’s Chris Stirrat has full details on the Windows Virtualization Team Blog, but the elevator pitch is that SCVMM (or VMM) is a tool for large enterprises to manage their virtual machines with the same ease as today’s management tools allow them to manage physical server machines.