RealTime IT News

Microsoft Viridian: Another Day, Another Delay

Less than a month after pushing back the delivery date for its Windows Server virtualization technology, Microsoft  today said that key features of the software will not be delivered in the second half of the year.

Viridian, a virtualization hypervisor , was supposed to arrive in the first half of the 2007 but was pushed to the second half of 2007.

Citing quality concerns, Viridian will not include Live migration, or hot-add resources for storage, networking, memory and processors, which allow developers to move, add or remove resources without taking the machine down, and it will limit support to 16 cores, or four quad-core processors.

"The focus for the release of Windows Server virtualization is quality and timeliness," Microsoft said in a statement. "To meet those objectives, Microsoft has made some hard decisions and now plans to defer some features to a later release."

Microsoft spokesperson Scott McLaughlin told internetnews.com that Microsoft is not detailing what exactly is delaying the features in the Viridian beta, which is scheduled to appear with the production release of Windows Server Longhorn in the second half of 2007.

"Good news or bad news, we feel it's necessary to update our customers on what's going on," he said.

Mike Neil, general manager of Microsoft's virtualization strategy, wrote on his blog today that for "all the progress comes the occasional trade-off."

Neil explained that Microsoft wanted to spill the news to the public so "no one is surprised at WinHEC when we demo all the other innovations in Windows Server virtualization."

WinHEC 2007, the Microsoft event for hardware engineers building to Windows, kicks off next Tuesday in Los Angeles. Microsoft first demonstrated Viridian and released technical content of the new architecture at last year's WinHEC show.

Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff said the latest setback does not look good for Viridian.

"Microsoft is already behind and now they're seemingly scaling back features like Live migration that are basic table stakes," Haff told internetnews.com via e-mail. "At the end of the day, Microsoft's customers can continue to use VMware and Xen-based products. But maybe Microsoft needs to start partnering with, rather than fighting, these products."

Microsoft describes Viridian as a thin software layer between the hardware and the Windows Server Longhorn operating system that will allow several operating systems to run on a host computer at the same time.

With the hypervisor, Microsoft hopes to challenge EMC subsidiary VMware, the biggest provider of virtualization software on the planet, thanks to a $1 billion run-rate in 2006.

Led by its ESX Server for virtualization large enterprise assets, VMware ascended to its lofty position by selling several virtualization software products that help customers consolidate several virtual machines on a single server.

Microsoft would love to duplicate VMware's success and hopes Viridian will help the company plot its course in the multi-billion-dollar virtualization market.