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4/12/2007
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Microsoft Delays Beta Test For Key Virtualization Product

But the company still plans on shipping the final version within 180 days of the release of its next major server operating system.

Microsoft said Thursday that it's delaying public testing of a key software product designed to allow businesses to get more bang for the buck from expensive server hardware.

The company said beta testing for its Windows Server virtualization software -- code-named Viridian -- will begin in the second half of 2007 and not the first half, as originally planned.

"We still have some work to do to have the beta meet the ... bar we have set," said Mike Neil, Microsoft's general manager for virtualization strategy, in a Thursday blog post.

Neil, however, said Microsoft as planned still expects to ship the final version of Viridian within 180 days of the release of its next major server operating system -- which currently goes by the name Longhorn. Microsoft expects to release Longhorn to manufacturing by the end of 2007, a company spokesman said, meaning Viridian is slated to launch by June 2008 at the latest. On his blog, Neil also said the final version of R2 service pack 1 for Microsoft's Virtual Server 2005 product will ship in the second quarter of this year. It was originally scheduled to ship by the end of March. "We required some additional time to test the new operating systems that will be supported with the service pack," including SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, Solaris 10 and a recent Longhorn build, wrote Neil.

Virtualization refers to the process of subdividing resources on a computer into discrete units that can act as separate machines, running their own instances of operating systems and applications. The technique is widely used in business computing environments that want to achieve maximum return on their computer hardware investments.

Viridian is a key part of Microsoft's campaign to develop virtualization products that can compete with those offered by specialists like EMC's VMware unit. Neil wrote that Microsoft is designing Viridian so that it can scale across servers running up to 64 processors and said the capability "is something no other vendor's product supports."

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