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Virtual Server 2005 R2 now available as a free download

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Today we announced that Virtual Server 2005 R2 is now available as a free download. This policy applies to all users of Virtual Server 2005 R2, and will apply to the forthcoming service pack 1 of Virtual Server 2005 R2.

Resource management has always been part of the operating system, and over the years you have been able to obtain this functionality as an integrated part of the operating system platform. As we will release our Windows hypervisor technology in the Windows Server “Longhorn” wave, you will be receiving the benefits of virtualization as part of the Windows Server operating system. Today’s price change makes it easier for you to access and experience the benefits of virtualization technology.

With Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition, you can run up to four virtual operating systems on one physical server at no additional cost. Today’s announcement enables you to easily and cost-effectively run Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition with Virtual Server 2005 R2 for server consolidation, application re-hosting, disaster recovery, and software test and development.

Virtual Server 2005 R2 service pack 1 is scheduled for a beta release in Q2 and general availability in early 2007. This service pack will support the hardware virtualization capabilities developed by AMD and Intel. By supporting both AMD Virtualization and Intel Virtualization Technology, you will be provided better interoperability, strengthened isolation to prevent corruption of one virtual machine from affecting others on the same system, and improved performance for non-Windows guest operating systems. The service pack also will support Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service, providing better support for backup and disaster recovery. Finally, this service pack also will provide existing Microsoft Virtual Server customers an important transition to the Windows hypervisor, which will be delivered in the Windows Server “Longhorn” wave.

Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 is a key deliverable for Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), a commitment from us and our partners to deliver self-managing dynamic systems. Customers deploying Virtual Server 2005 R2 can drive up hardware efficiencies, create flexible disaster and recovery environments, and rapidly provision new applications to better align IT with their business needs.

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