Microsoft has announced its intention to offer virtualization management capabilities for virtual machines based on VMware and the open source Xen hypervisor as part of a broad update of its virtualization capabilities.
The move is a departure for Microsoft's systems management strategy in that it will offer management capabilities for rival offerings, and was announced as the company released System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 to manufacturing.
Due to be generally available in October, SCVMM is designed to manage virtual machines based on Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, the company's standalone virtualization management platform.
The new product sees Microsoft attempting to win over existing customers of virtualization market leader VMware as it offers tools for the rapid conversion of existing physical servers and VMware virtual servers to Microsoft's VHD format.
The multi-vendor management capabilities will enable users to manage VMware and Xen virtual machines alongside those based on Microsoft's forthcoming Viridian hypervisor. They will be delivered in the next version of System Center Virtual Machine Management, which is due to enter beta testing in the first quarter of 2008.
Also known as Windows Server virtualization, Viridian will be delivered with 180 days of Windows Server 2008, which itself is still due for launch at the end of February 2008, despite its release to manufacturing recently slipping to the first quarter of 2008, rather than the last quarter of 2007.
Microsoft also announced last week that it is introducing a new licensing scheme for its System Center family of management products, introducing System Center Management Suite Enterprise to manage both physical and virtual environments.
Priced at $860 plus two years of software assurance, the product suite includes Virtual Machine Manager 2007 as well as licenses for the 2007 versions of System Center Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, and Data Protection Manager.
For mid-market customers, the company also announced that it is introducing a version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 designed to manage up to five physical servers and any number of virtual machines. To be priced at $499, SCVMM 2007 Workgroup will be available in January 2008.