Windows Server 2003: Top management

Microsoft goes virtual

In mid-February, Microsoft announced that it has acquired the virtual machine (VM) solutions of Connectix. As readers of this column know, I have long been a fan of VM products such as those produced by both Connectix and VMware. A Microsoft product, complete with support, will be great.

The products Microsoft has acquired from Connectix include Virtual PC (VPC), Virtual PC for Mac (VPCM), and Virtual Server (VS). VPC and VPCM have been available for some time, while VS was nearly ready for release when the buyout took place. I've been using it heavily for some time now.

VM technology is very useful for development and testing, as well as for training. With VPC and VS, a developer can create multiple machines to simulate a large production environment. I have an old four-processor Xeon server that is running multiple VMs, simulating an entire Windows NT 4 domain. It's also very useful in a training environment as it can be used to test domain upgrade procedures.

VS can also provide for server consolidation. Many application servers are either under-used, or are running on very old (and relatively underpowered) hardware. With VS, you can move these applications to VMs running on a single server - thus significantly reducing the number of servers you require.

The progress on the completion of VS has been good, so I'm told, and I'm expecting to see a beta of the Microsoft branded product in the next couple of months, with release following closely behind.

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Reproduced with the kind permission of Just from Enterprise Server Magazine (ESM), June 2003. ESM is the only magazine independently owned and produced in the UK that specialises in Windows and Enterprise Server computing.

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More Windows Server 2003 special reports:

Windows Server 2003: It’s here – now what do I do?
Time to upgrade: A look at Windows Server 2003