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Microsoft Unveils Its Virtual Server

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced the general availability of its eagerly awaited Virtual Server 2005 software today, but data center managers will have to put their own systems under the microscope if they want to reap its benefits, warns one analyst.

Virtualization is a hot topic at the moment, enabling IT managers to improve how they provision their data centers -- allocating resources such as applications and files across their entire server infrastructures. According to Microsoft, some early adopters of Virtual Server 2005 have been able to cut their server provisioning time between 50 and 95 percent, while reducing their physical server counts between 50 and 80 percent.

Sounds impressive, but just how likely are these improvements? It is doable,” says Laura DiDio, senior industry analyst at The Yankee Group, “But it depends on the individual [data center environment] and what the workloads are. A lot will depend on whether you have correctly configured your system -- [for example] what are your WAN links? You have to make sure that it will work with your existing drivers and applications."

DiDio also warns that users should make sure that they have got sufficient horsepower to support all this -- namely the CPUs at the heart of their servers. As a result, they will have to do their homework if they want to deploy Virtual Server 2005, auditing their data center infrastructure and checking that their existing contracts are compliant.

”You have to do an asset management test in-house to ensure that your existing environment can handle this stuff,” she says.

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