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Virtual Server R2 Enterprise Edition Price Cut

To encourage new virtualization scenarios in Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition, Microsoft will sell the new OS with a half-price version of its server virtualization tool.

Microsoft announced the promotion on Tuesday with the release to manufacturing of Windows Server 2003 R2. Under the promotion, customers who buy the Enterprise Edition of Windows Server 2003 R2 can also get Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise Edition for $99 -- about half the normal list price and the same price as the Standard Edition of Virtual Server 2005 R2.

The promotion will run through June 30. Microsoft promised general availability of Windows Server 2003 R2 by early February.

With Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition, Microsoft is allowing customers to run up to four virtual instances of Windows server for no cost beyond licensing the initial version of the OS. Some virtualization software, either Microsoft's Virtual Server R2 or third-party software like VMware GSX Server, would be necessary to create and manage the virtual machines.

“We see virtualization becoming ubiquitous as a part of your infrastructure over the next three to five years,” said Bob Muglia, Microsoft senior vice president, in a Webcast Tuesday. “We’re essentially moving from a world where software is licensed for installation purposes to one where instead it is licensed when it is run on a machine.”

Microsoft presented the virtualization licensing change in R2 announced in October as part of a broader effort to account for virtualization in its licensing models. In the Windows Longhorn Server release, currently slated for 2007, Microsoft plans to integrate virtualization technology into the OS and allow users to run an unlimited number of virtual Windows sessions in its Datacenter Edition.

Stuart Johnston contributed to this report.

About the Author

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