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September 11, 2007

Microsoft bluffs with their weak virtualization hand

Posted by David Hunter at 9:37 PM ET.

Microsoft’s Viridian virtualization software (aka Windows Server virtualization) that was supposed to be built into Windows Server 2008 is late and feature short, but Microsoft seems to be doing their best to bluff the other players at the VMworld conference today:

This week at VMworld we’re announcing that the Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Windows Server virtualization is coming soon with the initial release candidate of Windows Server 2008.

Swell, but it doesn’t add back the missing features or fix the schedule mismatch and no date for the combined beta was specified.

There’s more marketing speak there about Microsoft’s virtualization efforts including Virtual Machine Manager 2007 and a new deal with Citrix, the perennial Microsoft pilot fish, which is trumpeted as Microsoft and Citrix Extend Virtualization Alliance:

Today at VMworld 2007, Microsoft Corp. and Citrix Systems Inc.announced that they have strengthened their longtime integration alliance in the desktop and application delivery market by standardizing on the Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format as a common runtime environment for both virtualized operating systems and applications. This collaboration will result in future versions of Citrix’s Desktop Server and virtual application solutions adopting the Microsoft VHD format. At the same time, Microsoft plans to adapt a future version of Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization for both the desktop and Terminal Services to the VHD format.

Since Citrix Desktop Server (when it uses virtual machines for client desktops) is virtualization software agnostic, the exclusive choice of Microsoft’s VHD format is some sort of win, but Citrix’s “longtime alliance” with Microsoft is around the odd duck of multiuser client versions of Windows and Citrix’s serious involvement with the more generally useful virtualization for server operating systems only started when they bought XenSource which had already licensed VHD. As for Microsoft’s Softgrid using VHD, that’s got to be a no-brainer so the real question is what is taking them so long?

While usage of VHD is nice and by all accounts Virtual Machine Manager is very nice, they are all ancillary to Viridian, the main virtualization product that everyone is waiting for and the other players aren’t likely to be distracted by all the huffing and puffing.

Update: Mary Jo Foley reports that a Viridian beta will be included with Windows Server 2008 when it ships.

Filed under Application Virtualization, Citrix, Coopetition, Hyper-V, Microsoft, OS - Server, VMware, Virtualization, Windows Server 2008

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