4 Microsoft Virtualization, Cloud Products That Matter

A quick look at a quartet of key virtualization and cloud-building tools in the Microsoft portfolio.

Here's my take on four key Microsoft products that will be key to virtualization and cloud-building initiatives:

App-V: App-V is an application virtualization and streaming solution that was acquired by Microsoft during the acquisition of Softricity in 2006. App-V matters because overall, it enhances Microsoft's role as a virtualization player, while more specifically, it has matured to the point where it is being plugged into multi-vendor virtualization solutions with heavy hitters like VMware, Citrix, and AppSense.

Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1: Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 is the departure point for Microsoft virtualization because it contains a free version of Hyper-V, which is finding its way into more and more multi-hypervisor environments. Hyper-V may be starting out in test and dev deployments, but it is increasingly working its way into production scenarios. Oh, and it's cheap.

Windows Azure: Microsoft's Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud offering matters because enables users to develop, run and replicate their applications in Microsoft datacenters around the world. It also acts as a counterpoint to VMware's Cloud Foundry, an open source PaaS application development platform for cloud service providers. A couple of years ago, Redmond claimed there are tens of thousands of Azure users, a number that has no doubt grown significantly in the mean time.

System Center: The multi-faceted System Center suite matters because it is the management anchor for Microsoft's virtualization and cloud initiatives. According to some observers, the upcoming System Center 2012 is a better value than, and an equal competitor to, VMware's vCenter. In addition, the 2012 version will also enable users to build private clouds and manage Citrix XenServer, in addition to Hyper-V and ESX.

About the Author

Bruce Hoard is the new editor of Virtualization Review. Prior to taking this post, he was founding editor of Network World and spent 20 years as a freelance writer and editor in the IT industry.

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