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MS Ships Beta 1 of Virtual Server Service Pack

Microsoft has begun beta testing Service Pack 1 of Virtual Server 2005 R2, an update to the company’s main virtualization platform that will add support for hardware virtualization in both Intel and AMD processors.

Beta 1 adds support for Intel’s new VT processors.

“What does that mean? If you're running on a VT enhanced processor, NON-Windows guests will run much faster as we're no longer performing ring compression as part of the emulated environment,” John Howard, program manager for Windows virtualization, said Friday on his Weblog.

Support for AMD’s competing virtualization technology – codenamed “Pacifica” -- will be forthcoming in Beta 2, scheduled for the fourth quarter, according to company statements. The service pack is due out in final form in the first quarter of 2007.

Beta 2 will also add support for Volume Shadow Copy services, as well as providing Active Directory integration to enable administrators to identify VM Host machines in a consistent manner.

The service pack also aims to improve isolation between virtual machines to help keep one corrupt virtual machine from corrupting others on the same system.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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