Microsoft is set to announce a company-wide strategy for virtualisation, from the desktop to the datacenter.
The company says that regardless of all the hype, only 5% of hardware servers actually implement the scenario of using machine level hardware virtualization to consolidate server machines.
But even so, the Microsoft Application Virtualization - a technology Microsoft acquired from the application virtualization company Softricity - became the fastest-ever selling enterprise product at Microsoft, with four million units sold in less than a year.
The company plans to introduce a push in the desktop virtualisation area with the acquisition of Calista Technologies, a provider of graphic technologies for next-generation desktop and presentation virtualization solutions. Calista provides technology that improves end-user experience of 3D and multimedia delivery for Microsoft multimedia applications, virtualized desktop deployments, and server-hosted virtualized desktops or applications using Windows Terminal Services.
The addition of Calista technology will enable remote workers to receive a full-fidelity Windows desktop experience without the need for high-end desktop hardware, while enabling software vendors to deliver additional capabilities.
Microsoft also has expanded its alliance with Citrix Systems to deliver a set of virtualization solutions to address the desktop and server virtualization needs of customers. The two companies will work together to deliver and market joint virtualization solutions with Windows Server 2008 to help customers achieve a flexible and dynamic client computing infrastructure.
Another result of this partnership with Citrix will be the development of a desktop connection broker, which will create the ability to further optimize the desktop experience.
Other plans involve a simplified Windows Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop licensing for hosted desktops, allowing the virtualisation of Windows Vista Home Basic, new and clear guidance on support of Microsoft Office virtualized by Microsoft Application Virtualization and the launch of new Microsoft Solutions Accelerators helping customers evaluate, plan, secure and deploy Microsoft virtualisation technologies across desktops and datacenters.
Calling its vision on businesses employing its virtualization toolset "Dynamic IT", Microsoft is aiming to help IT professionals get more out of their computing resources across both server and desktop environments.
Central to the vision of Dynamic IT is the concept of the Optimized Desktop. This concept refers to virtualising a user’s applications and profile together so that they follow that user, regardless of the location of the PC in use at the moment.
An example o f this all-too-common scenario is a run-of-the-mill user happily working on their laptop in a taxi, but leaving the taxi without the laptop. Fortunately, the laptop was BitLocker-encrypted, so the lost information was “safe” from prying eyes -- but for many users today it would have been lost data. However, that changes entirely with virtualization – taking advantage of application virtualization and profile virtualization, a new laptop can be provisioned for the user, including installing their applications, resetting their desktop wallpaper and restoring their documents in only a few minutes and with no manual steps.
The company lists a comprehensive set of products and technologies to enable virtualisation at all layers of the computing stack, from Data Center to Desktop to Management:
· Hyper-V (Beta), the brand new hypervisor architected on top of hardware virtualization technologies from AMD and Intel that is an exciting new feature of Windows Server 2008.
· Microsoft Application Virtualization (aka Softgrid) for running specific applications in a virtualized environment.
· Folder Redirection and Offline Files for user profile virtualization in scenarios such as hot-desking or PC replacement.
· Virtual PC 2007 for creating and managing virtual desktops.
· Terminal Services for presentation virtualization.
In addition, Windows Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop license for hosted desktop allows for an entire desktop to be hosted on a server and remotely delivered to another desktop computer.