Microsoft outlines virtualisation strategy

23 Jan 2008

Microsoft has reiterated its focus on virtualisation and has outlined a company-wide strategy to promote the technology in industry at the company’s Virtualisation Deployment Summit.

As part of this commitment, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Calista Technologies to improve the end-user experience for virtualised desktops and applications, an expanded alliance with Citrix Systems in the areas of client and server virtualisation, more flexible licensing options for virtualisation using Windows Vista and new tools that provide best practices to deploy Microsoft virtualisation software.

“Very few customers are able to reap the benefits of virtualisation today,” said Bob Muglia, senior vice-president of the server and tools business at Microsoft. “We estimate that less than 5pc of companies are utilising virtualisation technology because it is simply too cost-prohibitive and complex.

“We believe Microsoft’s comprehensive approach, from desktop to data centre, is unique to the industry by delivering solutions that address virtualisation at the hardware, application and management levels.”

Microsoft outlined three areas of investment to drive its virtualisation strategy forward: flexible client and server solutions; integrated management solutions; and accelerated broad customer adoption.

The addition of Calista’s technology to future Microsoft presentation and desktop virtualisation products will enable remote workers to receive a full-fidelity Windows desktop experience without the need for high-end desktop hardware, while enabling software vendors to deliver additional capabilities, Microsoft said. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Microsoft has also introduced services to help make overall desktop management, user migration and change management more efficient and flexible so customers can get the applications and data they need. Customers can use a range of Microsoft products, such as Windows Vista, the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack, Windows Vista Enterprise Centralised Desktop and Terminal Services in Microsoft Windows Server 2008, to meet the needs of their unique client computing scenarios.

Microsoft and Citrix Systems announced an expanded alliance to deliver a comprehensive set of virtualisation solutions to address the desktop and server virtualisation needs of customers. The two companies will work together to deliver and market joint virtualisation solutions with Windows Server 2008 to help customers achieve a flexible and dynamic client computing infrastructure.

Citrix is developing a software tool that will allow customers to easily transfer virtual machines between Citrix XenServer and Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V to help ensure greater interoperability for customers.

“Microsoft and Citrix are working together on product integration so that customers have access to comprehensive and flexible virtualisation solutions, all controlled by an integrated management platform,” added Muglia.

“The hottest topic in the IT industry is virtualisation,” commented Bill O’Brien, business group lead, server & tools, Microsoft Ireland. “At Microsoft, we’re taking a new approach to virtualisation with an eye toward helping customers to realise its potential.

“We’re offering products that enable virtualisation at all layers of the computing stack, from the beta of Hyper-V, the hypervisor that is a key feature of Windows Server 2008, to virtual desktops (with Virtual PC 2007), applications (with Microsoft Application Virtualisation) and presentation virtualisation (with Terminal Services). We’ve developed a toolset of virtualisation products that can be deployed to meet the unique needs of our individual customers. This makes Microsoft unique in its breadth of capabilities and puts us in a position to be central to the virtualisation strategies of our customers in Ireland.”

By Niall Byrne