ISV partners gear up for Microsoft Virtual Server 2005

Quotinig from Systems Management Pipeline:

Microsoft will join with ISV partners Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Computer Associates International and Veritas Software to unveil a host of management add-ons for its Virtual Server 2005, which will launch next week.
On Monday, Microsoft will unveil forthcoming Service Packs for Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM), Systems Management Server (SMS) and Automated Deployment Services that will support Microsoft virtual machines.

Meanwhile, Virtual Server support will be announced in HP OpenView and IBM Director as well as in monitoring and storage products from CA and Veritas.

The virtualization software, which was acquired from Connectix in early 2003 and enhanced for the Microsoft environment, is designed to enable server consolidation and simplified management. To that end, Microsoft will also detail key partnerships with hardware vendors Dell, Fujitu-Siemens, HP, IBM, NEC and Unisys on Monday. Top systems integrators Accenture, Avanade, EDS and HP will also unveil services for Microsoft Virtual Server 2005.

Virtual Server 2005 is a key part of Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative and will plug into leading management products across the board, one Microsoft executive said. The software will ship in two editions and will be widely available by Oct. 1.

“Virtual Server helps customers take steps today to get better utilization out of their hardware environment and allocate those server resources,” said Eric Berg, a group product manager for Windows server at Microsoft, Redmond, Wash.

Virtual Server 2005 offers a Web-based management interface for monitoring virtual machines, and the company has integrated links into its fleet of management products–as well as third-party links–to enable comprehensive management of virtual machines. A third-quarter update to SMS will support Virtual Server. The Service Pack will provide Virtual Server information in hardware inventory checks, track virtual host and guest relationships, and feature a new node called Virtual Machine in the SMS administration console.

The software will also enable companies to do parallel testing and rollout of Active Directory infrastructure. Microsoft designed the software to run infrastructure workloads such as domain controllers, DNS, WINS and DHCP in virtual machines.

In the fourth quarter, Microsoft will roll out MOM 2005 Management Pack for Virtual Server. The MOM Service Pack will allow one-to-many management of host and guest virtual machines, health monitoring and configuration changes and closed loop automation, Microsoft said. Microsoft will also make available a Virtual Server Migration Toolkit to help automate the migration process from physical servers to virtual servers as well as virtual-to-virtual conversions.

Microsoft will end support for NT at the end of the year and promises Virtual Server will help NT and Novell customers migrate their infrastructure. The company also says Virtual Server will help customers facing physical data constraints. Virtual Server 2005 supports NT, Windows 2000, NetWare and Linux workloads in virtual machines, but the software runs on Windows Server 2003 only. The Standard Edition, which supports up to four processors, is priced at $499, while the Enterprise Edition, priced at $999, supports as many as 32 processors.

Virtual Server 2005 is not designed to run hard-core server applications such as SQL Server, Exchange, file and print servers or enterprise applications in virtual machines. Executives also acknowledged that Virtual Server 2005 is aimed at midsize companies and enterprises rather than SMB customers.

One Microsoft solution provider agreed. “The price of hardware is so cheap that to consolidate to one server is not the best plan because then you lose redundancy and failover,” said Michael Healey, president of Ten Corp. “I don’t think you should consolidate because then you’ve got one central point of failure.”