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Microsoft Touts Virtualization At TechEd Conference

Microsoft expects big growth in server virtualization, application virtualization, presentation virtualization, and desktop virtualization.

As thousands took to the conference floor Tuesday for the second, IT professional-focused week of Microsoft's annual TechEd conference, the company's aggressive push into virtualization led the day with new product milestones and IT pro certifications. The other news was that the next version of SQL Server is inching closer to release.

In a keynote address, Bob Muglia, senior VP of Microsoft's server and tools business, laid out the breadth of Microsoft's virtualization offerings, from server virtualization to application virtualization, presentation virtualization, and desktop virtualization. "Today we see the use of virtualization for consolidation, to drive down cost and in some ways improve management, but we think we're really at the beginning of a multi-year roadmap to help use virtualization as a key technology to change and transform the data center," he said.

He said Hyper-V, Microsoft's server virtualization technology, will be available before early August, which is the date Microsoft had set for its final release after several earlier delays. He also made a bit of a bluster, claiming that Hyper-V "performs at or better than anything in the industry."

Among the applications Microsoft will support for running in a virtualized environment will be the company's Forefront suite of security products, including the next generation of Forefront, code-named Stirling, Microsoft announced Tuesday.

Later this month, Microsoft will release a test version of Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5, the latest version of the Softgrid technology the company acquired from Softricity in 2006. Ultimately, Muglia said, Microsoft will be able to virtualize applications and application components as part of the company's service-oriented architecture strategy.

While Microsoft and others are pushing their virtualization agendas and server virtualization takes off, there's still a relative lack of expertise in the industry because so many applications and servers remain to be virtualized. Microsoft is launching both a validation program for software vendors wanting to make sure their software runs well in a virtualized environment and a certification program for IT pros working with virtualization.

Virtualization wasn't the only technology on display at TechEd. Microsoft announced that a new release candidate of SQL Server 2008 will be available later this month, putting the delayed database software a few more steps closer to its final release.

Additionally, Microsoft announced new test versions of Identity Lifecycle Manager 2 and Forefront Security for Office Communications Server as well as Forefront support for Windows Server 2008 and a new version of .Net Configuration Service 2.0. which is a set of code libraries that helps developers create composite apps that use both .Net and Java components.

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