Microsoft Eyes Server Virtualization Space

By Thor Olavsrud

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With an eye to beefing up server consolidation on Intel-based servers, Microsoft confirmed Wednesday that it has acquired some assets from partner Connectix, including its Virtual PC and Virtual Server products and many of its employees.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Connectix, which made its name with its Virtual PC software (a line which includes Virtual PC for Mac, Virtual PC for Windows and Virtual PC for OS/2) 14 years ago, has been working to recast itself as a server virtualization software provider with products like Virtual Server, launched in beta in November 2002.

Part of Microsoft's attraction to Connectix's technology may be because it adds depth to its forthcoming Windows Server 2003 family by allowing existing NT 4 customers to keep their NT 4 applications running as virtual machines. This makes the technology a ready-made ramp to migrate customers from NT 4 to the new Windows platform.

Virtual Server is also a key component of the play because by integrating the technology with its Windows source code, Microsoft can enable more efficient partitioning on its servers and also give its Windows Server lineup a boost in competing with more traditional choices for server consolidation, like high-end Unix machines and IBM's Linux offerings.

Connectix describes Virtual Server as a native Windows-based server application that allows users to run a broad range of server operating environments, including as Windows, Linux, UNIX, OS/2 and DOS, concurrently on a single physical server, within isolated virtual machines.

According to reports, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft plans to continue sales and development of Virtual PC for Mac.