Microsoft Virtualization Launch Planned for Fall 2008

Specific announcements unclear; event includes discussion about Microsoft Application Virtualization

Microsoft announced a launch event for its virtualization products, scheduled for Sept. 8, 2008 in Bellevue, Wash. More information and a sign up link can be found here.

The Bellevue-based event will draw Microsoft execs to speak, with a keynote address by Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft's server and tools business, and Kevin Turner, Microsoft's CEO.

Microsoft has a complete line of virtualization products, in various stages of release, so there's some speculation about what Microsoft may announce at the September event. Microsoft has already released to manufacturing (RTM) its Hyper-V virtualization solution, which is part of Windows Server 2008.

The company's System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 solution was released as a public beta in April, with expectations for an RTM release in the second half of 2008. Given that schedule, it seems likely that Microsoft will announce the RTM status of Virtual Machine Manager 2008 at this event. The Virtual Machine Manager 2008 is designed to help IT administrators manage Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Virtual Server and systems using VMware's virtualization solution.

Another piece of the puzzle is Microsoft's Kidaro acquisition, which provided Microsoft with technology for desktop virtualization. Microsoft announced the acquisition of Kidaro in March with the idea that it will be part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance customers. Kidaro's technology promises to let IT professionals create software images for desktop PCs that also allow individual users to run their own software concurrently, without conflicts.

Microsoft has said that it will ship Kidaro's technology under the "Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization" (MED-V) name. At its virtualization product launch event, Microsoft has a session entitled "Client-Hosted Virtualization With MED-V," which presumably will discuss the integration of Kidaro's technology.

The company also plans to talk about its "Microsoft Application Virtualization" solution, formerly known as SoftGrid, at the event. This software, which, among other things, allows applications to bypass conflicts caused by using shared resources, is currently available as version 4.5 in beta release.

Microsoft plans to make its Microsoft Application Virtualization product generally available in the third quarter of 2008 as part of the "Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack and Microsoft Application Virtualization CAL for Terminal Services," according to the company's SoftGrid Web site. With that timeline, the general availability of this product might also be announced at this launch event.

Veteran Microsoft watcher Mary-Jo Foley speculated in her All About Microsoft blog that Microsoft might talk about application virtualization via streaming methods of delivery. The idea is that Microsoft could make a license change that could enable Microsoft apps to compete against hosted applications provided by Google.

In addition to this Bellevue event, Microsoft is planning to announce additional U.S. launch event sites to talk about its virtualization products, according to Microsoft's GetVirtualNow Web site.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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