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Microsoft promises VMware beater despite reversals

Blames media, not own, confusion

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WPC Microsoft has delivered a spirited defense of its Windows virtualization roadmap, blaming misreporting - not internal disorganization - for causing confusion.

Andy Lees, corporate vice president for server and tools marketing and solutions, claimed that recent press coverage saying Microsoft's virtualization architecture wouldn't provide migration is "inaccurate".

Lees told 8,000 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) delegates that the up-coming Windows Server 2008 would be good enough for most users' virtualization requirements and that the architecture would still beat market leader VMware on capabilities.

Microsoft is using WPC keynotes and sessions to preview and prepare partners for Windows Server 2008, with executives announcing online clinics and certification assessment for partners qualified on other Microsoft products.

Lees evangelized Windows Server 2008 at WPC by talking up the potential for virtualization in the operating system, networks and storage. He claimed levels of interest unprecedented in a Windows server operating system - at least since Microsoft prepared for the debut of Windows NT more than 10 years ago.

"We are super jazzed about Windows Server 2008 - this is a very, very significant release," Lees said. "Windows Server 2008 will be leading the way in the most cost-effective way you can move a customer to a virtual environment."

With such weight riding on Windows Server 2008 it was therefore critical that Lees quashed reports on the confused state of Viridian, the virtualization architecture due to ship 180 days after Windows Server 2008. The OS is due on February 27, 2008, having been pushed back from the end of 2007.

Lees called the debate between quick migration and live migration a "red herring" based on six seconds of difference, which mattered only to disaster recovery. On that basis, Windows Server 2008's planned geo-clustering feature would help users out of any squeeze and could - he claimed - beat VMware.

That tallied with Microsoft's attempt to justify pulling live migration in May, when it said it had decided to focus on virtualization that meets the demands of the "broad market." The party line falls down, though, when you look at Microsoft's reason for adding live migration in April, given as helping it hit internal goals for "performance and scalability."

"The recent press has been inaccurate to say we don't do migration - we do migration: quick migration," Lees said Wednesday. Live migration is a memory-to-memory system while quick migration is machine-to-machine and disc-to-disc.

"We had to make a trade-off to hit shipment date," Lees continued, explaining the decision to yank live migration.

"The time when you really want to move something fast is when you are in a disaster recovery situation. Geo-clustering in Windows Server 2008 lets you set up a cluster over a wide-area network. If the virtual machine fails you can immediately flip over to another machine with zero down time. VMware doesn't offer anything like that," he said.®

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