Virtual Server 2005 R2 Will Be Free, Linux Compatible

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In the News


Virtual Server 2005 R2 Will Be Free, Linux Compatible
by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

Microsoft revealed today that it is making its upcoming server virtualization software, Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, available for free. The previous version cost either $99 or $199, depending on the number of supported processors. Virtual Server 2005 R2 lets corporations run guest OSs on special software-based virtual machines (VMs) under the host server. It competes with VMware's virtualization product, VMware Server, which is also free.

You'll also see from the Microsoft camp a sudden resurgence in Linux support. When Microsoft initially developed its Microsoft Virtual PC and Virtual Server products, both of which are based on technology acquired from the acquisition of virtual PC maker Connectix, the first thing the software giant did was remove any official support for running Linux VMs. Now, however, after a few years of customer complaints, Linux support is back, and Microsoft says that it's developed methods for more easily installing popular Linux distributions in Virtual Server-based VMs. Microsoft will even support customers who run Windows and Linux VMs side by side on the same hardware.

"We’ve made a long-term commitment to make sure that non-Windows operating systems can be run in a supported manner, both on top of Virtual Server and our future virtualization products," Zane Adam, Windows Server director of product marketing, says. Additionally, Microsoft is working to build virtualization services directly into the next Windows Server version, code-named Longhorn Server, due in 2007.

Microsoft's Virtual Server moves are timed to coincide with the start of LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in Boston this week. Though Microsoft is a staunch opponent of Linux, the company has been opening up to various Linux interoperability and migration scenarios over the past few years.

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