Last week Microsoft released the first release candidate of Windows Server 2008, a new server operating system that should arrive on the market in February 2008. eWeek discusses some of the new features of this OS, including the Viridian virtualizatoin service:
Microsoft has done a good job of integrating its virtualization services into the same framework of easy-to-manage server roles that govern Windows Server's other key functions, and I found that Viridian's facilities for creating and monitoring virtual instances compared well to rival products from VMware and XenSource.
Of course, my early tests of Microsoft's new virtualization feature have not been wrinkle free—the firm has labeled this initial public release of Viridian as a Community Technology Preview, and the CTP moniker is a fitting one. For instance, Viridian cannot yet import pre-existing virtual instances stored in Microsoft's Virtual Hard Drive format, and I experienced some issues enabling networking support for the Windows and Linux guests with which I tested.
With that said, I expect Microsoft's new virtualization bits, which will eventually ship with every copy of Windows Server, to expand significantly the reach of server virtualization and to give enterprises a viable third option to the VMware and Xen-based hypervisor options that are currently available.