Microsoft Announces Vision and Strategy to Accelerate Virtualization Adoption
Jan. 21, 2008
Company announces acquisition of Calista Technologies, expanded alliance with Citrix Systems and initiatives to enable virtualization from the desktop to the datacenter.

Editor's Note, Jan. 25, 2008 - Details on where consumers can find information on licensing Windows Vista in a virtual machine environment were updated for clarity.

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 21, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today articulated an expanded role for virtualization as a key enabler of its Dynamic IT vision and outlined a companywide strategy to help accelerate the broad adoption of virtualization. To help drive its strategy, the company also announced the acquisition of Calista Technologies Inc. to improve the end-user experience for virtualized desktops and applications; an expanded alliance with Citrix Systems Inc. in the areas of client and server virtualization; more flexible licensing options for virtualization using Windows Vista; and new tools that provide best practices to deploy Microsoft virtualization software.

“Very few customers are able to reap the benefits of virtualization today,” said Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft. “We estimate that less than 5 percent of companies are utilizing virtualization technology because it is simply too cost-prohibitive and complex. We believe Microsoft’s comprehensive approach — from desktop to datacenter — is unique to the industry by delivering solutions that address virtualization at the hardware, application and management levels. Our approach is not only one of the most comprehensive in the market today, but we believe it is also one of the most economical. This combination brings a big strategic advantage and cost savings to customers.”

Today in an e-mail message to 300,000 customers and partners, and at the company’s Virtualization Deployment Summit, Muglia and other executives expanded on these comments and discussed the challenges facing businesses — from the high costs and complexity associated with managing today’s IT environments to space constraints and the ability to get the most out of existing IT investments. Microsoft also articulated how its strategy and investments in the area of virtualization are a key part of the company’s overall vision and long-term technology strategy for IT professionals and developers. This vision, called Dynamic IT, is aimed at delivering the right computing resources to people virtually anytime and anywhere, and creating an IT environment that is more efficient, flexible and cost-effective. With virtualization technology as a key driver of its Dynamic IT vision, Microsoft stressed the importance of the technology to its customers, reiterated its commitment in this area and outlined these areas of investments:

  • Flexible client and server solutions

  • Integrated management solutions

  • Accelerated broad customer adoption

Flexible Client and Server Solutions

Microsoft’s strategy for client and server virtualization is to provide the best value in the industry with a complete set of virtualization solutions from the desktop to the datacenter. For example, customers can virtualize nearly all components of their desktop — including operating system, applications, data and preferences — and make them accessible from virtually anywhere and on virtually any machine. The result is tremendous flexibility for users, combined with new levels of efficiency and agility for IT departments. The following announcements were made today in support of this strategy:

  • Acquisition of Calista Technologies. Microsoft has completed the acquisition of Calista Technologies, a leading provider of graphics technologies for next-generation desktop and presentation virtualization solutions. Calista software improves the user experience of 3-D and multimedia delivery for Microsoft multimedia applications, virtualized desktop deployments, and server-hosted virtualized desktops or applications using Windows Server Terminal Services. The addition of Calista’s technology to future Microsoft presentation and desktop virtualization 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. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Calista Technologies, based in San Jose, Calif., is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft.

  • Windows Optimized Desktop solutions. Microsoft introduced solutions that 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 Optimization Pack, Windows Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop and Terminal Services in Microsoft Windows Server 2008, to meet the needs of their unique client computing scenarios. More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/virtualization.

Integrated Management Solutions for Virtualization

In IT departments, virtualization software is transforming individual servers into dynamic datacenters where applications are added in real time, enabling much greater flexibility and more efficient use of resources. Microsoft offers infrastructure virtualization software as part of the Windows platform, such as Hyper-V and Terminal Services available within Windows Server 2008, along with a comprehensive management platform, such as Microsoft System Center, to manage both virtual and physical infrastructure and applications. Microsoft delivers a simple, integrated management solution to manage across customers’ infrastructure: from the physical to the virtual; from the hardware to the application and services. The following announcement was also made today:

  • Hypervisor and management interoperability with Citrix. 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. A test version of the tool will be available in the second quarter, and a final version will be available with the release of Hyper-V. More details on this and other areas in which Microsoft and Citrix have expanded their alliance are available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass.

“We plan to transition to the next generation of Microsoft’s server virtualization and virtualization management technologies later this year,” said Chris Steffen, principal technical architect for Kroll Factual Data. “Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V will provide superior hardware utilization and help us create a more flexible IT infrastructure, while the next version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager will maximize the way we use and control those resources. We’re hoping that with both products we’ll be able to increase the production-level virtual machines on our physical machines by at least 20 percent.”

Accelerated Broad Customer Adoption

Virtualization has been around for more than four decades, but in many ways customers are just beginning to understand the full implications as a way to provision and manage computing resources. Greater economic and infrastructure advantages, as well as integrated tools to manage new configurations, are required to broaden the customer adoption of virtualization software. Microsoft is focused on a range of initiatives to help customers accelerate the adoption of virtualization to build a Dynamic IT environment. The following announcements were made to further accelerate the adoption of server and client virtualization:

  • Desktop virtualization alliance with Citrix. Microsoft and Citrix will co-market a broad portfolio of new client computing offerings so that customers have simple, flexible and low-cost client computing options. These offerings will be based on Windows Server 2008 and Windows Optimized Desktop solutions, extended with Citrix’s XenDesktop and Presentation Server products and managed by System Center. Microsoft and Citrix will work together to help ensure the Citrix XenDesktop connection broker works well with Windows Optimized Desktop solutions. More details on this and other areas in which Microsoft and Citrix have expanded their alliance are available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass.

  • New Microsoft Virtualization Solution Accelerators. To help customers evaluate, plan, secure and deploy Microsoft virtualization technologies across desktops and datacenters, Microsoft introduced four new Virtualization Solution Accelerators that will be available with the Windows Server 2008 launch in February. This set of free guidance resources and tools can help customers effectively plan and deploy virtualization technologies, including Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services and Microsoft Application Virtualization. Details can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/solutionaccelerators.

  • Increased licensing flexibility with Windows Vista. For businesses, Windows Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop provides unique licensing and flexibility to run Windows in virtual machines on servers and access them from either PCs or thin clients. The annual subscription to Windows Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop is now an estimated retail price of $23 per desktop for rich clients covered by Software Assurance for Windows Client. For consumers, Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Home Premium are now licensed for use in a virtual machine environment, and the updated SP1 and Supplemental end-user license agreement for each product by language version is available at http://www.microsoft.com/about/legal/useterms/default.aspx.

  • Microsoft Office system support for Microsoft Application Virtualization. Microsoft announced today that the 2003 and 2007 versions of the Microsoft Office system are supported when running in both Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 and SoftGrid Application Virtualization 4.2. This support enables customers to run multiple versions of Office on the same device side by side, easing and accelerating the deployment of Office, reducing total cost of ownership, and enhancing mobility and business continuity for millions of information workers. Customers can learn more at http://www.windowsvista.com/optimizeddesktop.

“This new set of initiatives sets Microsoft on a path designed to optimize customers’ virtualized datacenters and desktops,” said Roger Kay, president and founder of Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc. “Through integrated systems management, a broad portfolio of Microsoft and partner applications built on Windows Server 2008, a worldwide partner ecosystem to deliver solutions, and tailored licensing provisions, the company aims to bring the benefits of virtualization to mainstream customers. In particular, Microsoft’s work with Citrix to provide a flexible combination of rich desktop, thin-client, and virtual desktop infrastructure will help customers satisfy a range of distributed work-force requirements.”

The Microsoft Virtualization Deployment Summit is a two-day, private technical conference of 300 Microsoft customers and partners that are early adopters of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and the next version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager. More information on today’s announcements, including Muglia’s executive e-mail message and the keynote address from Microsoft Virtualization Deployment Summit, can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass. More information about Microsoft virtualization technologies and solutions can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/virtualization.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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