Microsoft on Wednesday detailed changes to its Virtual Server plans, announcing it will shift its next update of the software from a maintenance release to a paid upgrade.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker, which had earlier announced plans to issue a service pack for Virtual Server 2005, said it will instead release a product in the fourth quarter of this year known as Virtual Server 2005 R2. Microsoft said the new version, already in beta testing, will offer improvements to performance and availability.
“There are a number of new features in the product we’re introducing that make this much more full featured and robust…than a service pack,” Microsoft group program manager Mark Kieffer said in a presentation at the Intel Developer Forum here.
Next year, Microsoft will issue another, larger update to the Virtual Server product, the company said. A beta version of that update is planned for the first half of the year and a final release slated for the second half of 2006.
R2 also adds x64 support and support for some non-Windows OS running in the VM. Linux is mentioned. There is also talk of folding Virtual Server in with the base OS in the Longhorn Server time frame. The Virtual Server home page has a sign up link for the R2 beta program, plus notice of an August 26 “Executive Chat” with Mike Neil, Product Unit Manager for Windows Virtualization where he will discuss Microsoft’s current and future machine virtualization plans.