Microsoft Virtualization Technologies

Here is a good use for a new technology, virtual machines. Using virtual machines you can quickly evaluate software in minutes by downloading the virtual hard disks that are preconfigured and be setup in no time because there is no need for specialized servers or complex installations. The Microsoft VHD format is a common virtualization format that provides uniform product support systems, and provides more seamless manageability, security, reliability and cost-efficiency for customers.

Microsoft is among the leaders in developing a new generation of IT infrastructure technology and tools, such as server virtualization, application virtualization and virtualization management tools, to help customers increase agility while lowering costs.

At VMworld 2006, Microsoft is making available their new virtual hard disk (VHD) Test Drive Program, which allows customers to confidently evaluate enterprise software from Microsoft and its software partners in a fraction of the time. In addition, Microsoft will have booth demonstrations of its application virtualization, server virtualization and virtualization management tools.

This program enables Microsoft and its partners to distribute their enterprise software and applications within a virtual machine so that IT professionals can confidently and quickly evaluate Windows Server-based software. A similar program for Windows Vista will be available in the first quarter of 2007.

These virtual machines, which are provided in Microsoft’s virtual hard disk image format, are pre-built and pre-configured so that they can be downloaded or distributed for easy setup and evaluation. This allows customers to evaluate software in a fraction of the time it usually takes, such as setting up SQL Server 2005 in minutes instead of hours. Source: Microsoft

Microsoft expects more than 20 partners to distribute their software via the VHD Test Drive Program later this quarter, including Altiris, BEA Systems, Check Point, Citrix, CommVault, Dell, FullArmor, HP, Network Appliance, Platespin, Portlock, Quest Software, SourceCode Technology Holdings, Symantec and UGS.

Virtualization is an important part of the Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) commitment from Microsoft. The goal of DSI is to deliver self-managing dynamic systems to help IT teams capture and use knowledge to design more manageable systems and automate ongoing operations, resulting in reduced costs and more time to proactively focus on what is most important to the organization. Sounds good in theory and should definitely make software testing and deployment much easier.