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Virtual Server Not Really Ready for Prime Time

Microsoft has released its first beta of Virtual Server, amid hype asserting that the product should be considered for deployment in your production environments. Not yet.

The idea behind VM (virtual machine), introduced 30 years ago, was to slice up the physical mainframe hardware into any number of virtual mainframes to separate OSs, application spaces and r test and production environments. IBM's VM technology was developed in a monolithic environment. IBM had control over and provided support for all the pieces, from the hardware through the OS. Microsoft's purchase and development of Connectix's virtual server code is an important step in that direction because, for the first time in the PC world, a single vendor will provide support from the OS through the virtualized environment.

Providing single-vender support for the complex environment Virtual Server represents is a big step forward, but we don't recommend using the technology for production systems for at least a year. Although server consolidation through emulation makes business sense, reliability is the Holy Grail of production systems, and it's always compromised by complexity. Take your eyes off this goal, and your bottom line will suffer.

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