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Microsoft Making A Virtual Purchase

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-23

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The application virtualization and streaming technologies provide application compatibility and accelerate corporate desktop transitions to Windows Vista, Microsoft said of the technology available from its new acquisition, Softricity.

Microsoft kicks off the 15th annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) with Bill Gates keynoting the event and more information about the company's virtualization becoming available.

Ahead of the conference, Microsoft announced its intent to acquire Softricity, whose virtualization technology has been incorporated into Systems Management Server 2003 R2 beta.

"We look at virtualization as key technology to help customers achieve self-managing dynamic systems," said Bob Muglia. Microsoft's senior vice president of the Server and Tools Business.

Windows Server virtualization will be available with the release of the "Longhorn" version. By providing a "hypervisor," a thin layer of software running on a server, users can run Longhorn and multiple operating systems from a single physical machine.

The inclusion of this technology marks a sea change in Microsoft's thinking. Previously the company has done its best to encourage the exclusive use of its products for all potential applications within an enterprise.

But as the Linux operating system, which is freely available in numerous distributions, gained in popularity, system administrators began turning to it to run applications like the Apache web server or the MySQL database. Linux supports a lot of older hardware, and the cost savings of putting an older machine back into production instead of purchasing new servers could not be beat.

Microsoft has recognized this and seems to be going for a compromise with virtualization. Run the Longhorn server and its hypervisor, and put Linux on the same device. It could be a partial victory for Microsoft and the OEMs that will sell servers with Longhorn to corporate customers.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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