The concept of the ‘virtual machine’ has been with us for many years, especially in computer engineering circles and in the mainframe domain, but recently this topic has increased in profile as first Microsoft, and then EMC, acquired virtual machine technology (and, in EMC’s case, a company).
Microsoft has announced that Virtual PC Express will be available in March.
Now it has been revealed that Microsoft will offer Virtual PC Express to its customers in March 2006 as part of the company’s Software Assurance maintenance scheme, and also as part of Windows Vista Enterprise edition, which is due for release towards the end of 2006.
In a release, Microsoft stated that Windows Vista Enterprise will be available exclusively as a benefit of Software Assurance and, according to the company, it is designed to help midsize and larger organizations significantly lower IT costs and improve IT efficiency.
The operating system will support advanced application compatibility scenarios with Virtual PC Express by enabling customers to run legacy applications in a virtual machine, Microsoft has revealed. However, Virtual PC Express will be available for customers to begin using before the release of Windows Vista Enterprise Edition.
The company’s Software Assurance scheme, meanwhile, is a maintenance offering that assists organizations with deploying, managing and migrating software solutions.
Details are still scant, but the word on the street is that Virtual PC Express will enable a user to run two virtual machines (VMs) on their Windows XP PC alongside modern applications – just perfect for those organizations trying to move on from Windows 98 and OS/2 (yes, there are still firms out there running these operating systems for business critical applications).
The corporate adoption of Windows 2000 Professional was hampered by compatibility issues, and so Microsoft will be hoping that this useful facility will make the upgrade route less painful this time around. However, this technology could allow Linux to sneak in through the ‘back door’, and so it is plausible that Microsoft will some how ‘restrict’ this version of Virtual PC to Microsoft-only operating systems.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)