Microsoft Introduces Virtualization Licensing Plan for Vista

Microsoft on Wednesday at its Velocity 2006 partner conference in Boston debuted a desktop virtualization licensing plan for Windows Vista Enterprise in hopes of generating more interest in its Software Assurance program.

Under the new plan users buying Vista through Software Assurance can now run up to four copies of Windows in virtual machines on a single device for a single user. The move should encourage users working with older versions of Windows to migrate more quickly to Vista because both are available through the Software Assurance program.

In a move to spur user adoption of server-based virtualization, Microsoft also announced it is making its Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition available through volume licensing. Until now the product was only available through larger hardware manufacturers. Earlier Microsoft had announced that users could run an unlimited number of virtualized Windows Server operating systems on Datacenter starting Oct. 1.

What this means is users can now consolidate a number of different Windows Server workloads and not have to pay for virtual machines or other server licenses.

The company also announced that its latest desktop virtualization product, Virtual PC 2004 SP1, will now be free for all users, as will its upcoming Virtual PC 2007 for Windows Vista. Virtual PC 2007 is expected to ship in next year's first quarter, said Michael Oldham, General Manager in charge of Worldwide Licensing and Pricing.

About the Author

Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.