Virtualisation takes a number of steps forward...
In an announcement today at LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in Boston, Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise Edition will now be available as a free download.
What this means is that everyone will be able to make use of the Virtualisation platform for server consolidation, OS and application compatibility, deploying test networks and a huge number of other scenarios.
The key to this technology is the Virtual Hard Disk (vhd) format which is also has been made available under a royalty free license. This same technology will be used by the Hypervisor in Longhorn Server time frame.
In another announcement also available are add-ins (Virtual Machines Additions) for Linux guest operating systems. The add-ins can be downloaded from the Microsoft.com Web site and installed in Linux guest operating systems to improve interoperability with Virtual Server 2005 R2 and enhance guest and host synchronization, mouse and display drivers, and SCSI disk emulation
We have also introduced a new 24/7 Technical Support model for Linux Guest operating systems running on Virtual Server 2005 R2.
As a result, Microsoft will now support the following Enterprise Linux distributions: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 (Update 6); Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (Update 6); Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9. Standard distributions supported include Red Hat Linux 7.3, 9.0, 9.2, 9.3 and 10.0.
All of this adds to enabling cost effective use of Virtualisation in systems of all sizes and complexities.