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Virtual Server 2005 Released to Manufacturing

Virtual Server 2005 is released to manufacturing, a Microsoft spokesperson said Thursday. RTM marks the final development milestone in the server virtualization software's odyssey from a third-party beta version to an official Microsoft product.

RTM means Microsoft developers are finished writing and testing the code, and that the final build had gone to be packaged and posted or shipped. The precise delivery date is not public, although general availability usually follows RTM by less than two months. "Virtual Server 2005 is still on track to be available broadly to customers this year," the spokesperson said. "We will provide additional information about the product in the near future."

Microsoft acquired a beta version of Virtual Server in February 2003 with the acquisition of the assets of Connectix. Microsoft flipped two shipping Connectix desktop products, one for PCs and one for Macs, with Microsoft branding in 2003. The company also originally hoped to get Virtual Server finished and shipped late last year.

While that didn't work out, the product still did better than its peers. Virtual Server was originally grouped with Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003 for 64-bit Extended Systems as three products aimed at a fourth quarter of 2003 ship date. Last week, Microsoft disclosed that Windows Server 2003 SP1 and Windows Server 2003 for 64-bit Extended Systems won't be ready until the first half of 2005.

Virtual Server allows several operating systems to coexist on a server, with each behaving as if it had exclusive access to the underlying hardware. The virtualization software manages the hardware resources and prevents conflicts. Microsoft hopes customers will use the software for testing and development, to migrate Windows NT 4.0 applications onto Windows Server 2003/Virtual Server 2005-hosted systems and for server consolidation.

Virtual Server 2005 will be available in a standard edition that supports up to four processors and an enterprise edition supporting up to 32 processors. Although Microsoft frequently discusses pricing at RTM, the company was not immediately ready to disclose its price plans. Bob Muglia, senior vice president for Microsoft's Windows Server Division, has promised that Virtual Server will be the lowest cost way of virtualizing servers in the industry.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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