Microsoft offers up stand-alone virtualization server

Microsoft Monday tweaked its virtualization strategy by unveiling a stand-alone virtualization server that won’t require users to run the Windows Server 2008 operating system.

"Their product architecture is that virtualization is part of the [operating system] so they seem to be rethinking what hypervisor should be," says Raghu Raghuram, vice president of products and solutions for VMWare. "They are going to be coming out in almost one year with a basic-function hypervisor where today we have a robust hypervisor and 20,000 customers." And Raghuram adds WMWare comes with benefits such as availability and various management tools.

Haff says that speaks to what is truly interesting with virtualization, which are the tools needed to run and maintain a virtualized environment, especially requirements around management, and the fact that virtualized environments force IT to think about other parts of the network including storage, VLans, load balancing, SSL acceleration and firewalls.

"It's not about server virtualization," Forrester analyst Frank Gillett told Network World in August, "It's about when I have virtual servers I can completely change how I think about IT infrastructure. When I move virtual servers around I have to have storage that is not only networked but flexible so when I move the virtual server the storage connections go with it."

To that end, Microsoft Monday announced the availability of three of its System Center tools, including Virtual Machine Manager to manage virtualized servers.

The other tools are System Center Configuration Manager 2007, for client and server deployment and update, and System Center Data Protection Manager 2007, for backup and data recovery.

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