There's been some interesting news about Microsoft's virtualization efforts hitting the wire lately, headlined by Microsoft's decision to revamp its support policies to help IT Pros more effectively manage virtualized IT infrastructures. Some IT administrators have expressed dissatisfaction in the past with how Microsoft's licensing policies have made it difficult to take advantage of virtualization in the data center.

Microsoft announced this morning that it is dumping its 90-day reassignment requirement, which will allow admins to move software licenses between servers within a server farm as often as needed. Effective September 1st, the change will affect 41 Microsoft server applications, including SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, Exchange Server 2007 SP1, Sharepoint Server 2007, and the Microsoft System Center product family. (See the full list of affected Microsoft server programs here.) This will be a welcome change for many IT pros, and should help drive adoption of virtualization in the enterprise.

Microsoft has also announced that its technical support policy has been updated to allow customers to get improved technical support for Windows Server applications running in a virtualized environment. In addition to supporting applications running on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Microsoft Hyper-V Server, Microsoft will also provide support for server applications running on third-party virtualization platforms via the Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP). The SVVP allows third-party software vendors to validate their products to run on Windows Server 2008. Microsoft says that Virtual Iron, Sun Microsystems, Novell, Cisco, and Novell have joined the SVVP.

Perhaps most importantly, a Microsoft PR rep also confirmed this morning that VMware has joined the SVVP, which will allow customers running Microsoft server apps on VMware's virtualization platforms to get improved Microsoft technical support. VMware's decision to join the SVVP--and Microsoft's willingness to welcome VMware into the SVVP program -- is good news for the virtualization market, and even better news for IT Pros tasked with managing VMware and Microsoft products under one roof. (A caveat: At press time, neither the Microsoft SVVP page or the related news release list VMware as a member of the SVVP program.)

Microsoft also sent word that it plans to launch a series of more than 100 global virtualization events (beginning August 3rd) to kickstart the launch of Hyper-V and related Microsoft products, like System center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (VMM2008). For more information on the Microsoft virtualization event series, visit www.getvirtualnow.com