Microsoft ships beta 2 of Virtual Machine Manager

Server management software launched Friday

Microsoft Friday released the second beta of its System Center Virtual Machine Manager, which is designed to help companies manage their virtualization deployments.

The software, slated for final shipment in the second half of this year, helps maximize physical server utilization and centralize management and provisioning of virtual machines. The software also helps manage physical servers and is a core piece of Microsoft's emerging management platform under its Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI).

Last year, Bob Muglia, Microsoft's senior vice president of the server and tools division at Microsoft, said virtualization is the future of the Microsoft server environment. Microsoft is battling to catch VMware and XenSource in providing advanced virtualization capabilities. Next year, Microsoft plans to release hypervisor technology as part of its Windows Server Virtualization add-on for Longhorn, which is slated to ship by the end of the year.

The beta 2 of Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) is available for free from the Microsoft Web site.

As part of DSI, VMM integrates with both Operations Manager 2007, which shipped earlier this month, and Configuration Manager 2007, which is slated to ship by the end of September.

Beta 2 includes a new user interface that matches the one in Operations Manager 2007. It supports physical machine-to-virtual machine conversion for Windows Server 2000 and 2003; virtual machine-to-virtual machine conversion to turn VMware virtual machines into Microsoft's VHD format; support for VMM on 64-bit servers; and support for remote installation. The software also supports the command-line PowerShell scripting tool.

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