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Microsoft Nears Release of Virtualization Management Tool

Yesterday, Microsoft released the next component in its growing virtualization product line, announcing the release to manufacturing (RTM) of System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). General availability is expected in October.

In a blog entry, Chris Stirrat who heads Microsoft's SCVMM team announced the release of SCVMM, code-named "Carmine," after two years of development.

As the name implies, SCVMM manages a virtualization environment. It helps with consolidation, deployment and optimization of a large number of virtual servers, which is becoming an increasingly complex task as virtualization takes off in datacenters.

Stirrat released some details of SCVMM's development and capabilities. He wrote:

  • "Throughout the release we have had over 32 TAP (Technology Adoption Partners) customers and 10 partners which have been testing, giving great feedback and creating solutions with the beta versions of SCVMM
  • Microsoft's own internal IT group has been managing 100% of their virtual environment (86 physical hosts running 1224 VMs) in production with SCVMM since Beta2 with no (that is zero) impact on their SLAs
  • To date we have over 20,678 public beta users of SCVMM
  • SCVMM is available in 9 different languages"

Some of the pricing for SCVMM is unclear. A new license, called System Center Management Suite Enterprise license, will cost $860 per physical host, with unlimited virtual hosts allowed. That price includes a System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 license and enterprise server management licenses for System Center Configuration Manager 2007, System Center Operations Manager 2007 and System Center Data Protection Manager 2007.

Although the blog entry says SCVMM can operate as a standalone product, no pricing information was listed on a per-copy basis for SCVMM alone.

Also to be offered is a license for the Workgroup edition, available in January 2008, which will cost $499. That license, aimed mid-size businesses, covers five physical hosts and an unlimited number of virtual machines.

Microsoft is pushing hard into the virtualization arena, which is dominated by VMware. To compete, the company offers lower cost or free alternatives to VMware products. They include a free desktop virtualization product, Virtual PC, and Virtual Server for servers. Virtual Server will be supplanted by Windows Server Virtualization (WSV), a preliminary version of which is scheduled to be released with Windows Server 2008 next year. The complete version of WSV, codenamed Viridian, is expected to come about six months after Windows 2008's commercial release.

Stirrat wrote that the next version of SCVMM is expected to coincide with WSV, and will include support for two other major virtualization environments: VMware and Xen.

More information on SCVMM can be found here.

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at kward@1105media.com.

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