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.

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