Windows IT Pro UPDATE--Microsoft Tackles Virtualization, Small Business Management

Microsoft Tackles Virtualization, Small Business Management
----------------| Windows IT Pro UPDATE |----------------

In This Issue * Microsoft Tackles Virtualization, Small Business Management * Roadshow Targets Oracle/SQL Server Interoperability * Networking Perspectives: Server Virtualization and the x64 Platform * Altiris Software Virtualization Solution Now Open for Development




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***Commentary: Microsoft Tackles Virtualization, Small Business Management
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

With systems such as Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 and VMware ESX reaching a certain level of maturity and market acceptance, it's only natural that the vendors that make these products have begun turning their attention to other crucial enterprise virtualization needs. One key area that these companies have pursued is management. Although most management products can work with virtualized server environments as if they were physical devices, virtual machines (VMs) come with special needs as well. And as you begin to rely more and more on these environments, you'll need a centralized tool for managing them.

On the Microsoft front, the recent beta release of System Center Virtual Machine Manager fills this roll. As the newest member of the System Center family of management products, Virtual Machine Manager manages Virtual Server-based environments and will work with Longhorn Server's Hypervisor-based virtualization layer as well.

Virtual Machine Manager provides two key services. It can optimize the performance of VMs by intelligently allocating physical datacenter resources as needed, and it can aid in the process of converting physical servers to VMs, allowing you to provision virtualized environments more quickly than was previously possible on the Microsoft platform. Microsoft also ships consolidation tools that examine a physical datacenter and recommend a VM migration strategy.

Interested parties can download the Beta 1 version of Virtual Machine Manager from the Microsoft Web site. The final version is expected by the end of the year.

Virtualization isn't the only area into which Microsoft is expanding its System Center line of products. The company is also prepping a small- and mid-market management product called System Center Essentials (SCE) 2007 for an early 2007 release. SCE 2007 is aimed at small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) that want to outsource their IT operations. Essentially, the product will be sold by Microsoft partners that can remotely deploy software and patches and monitor the health of servers over the Internet using System Center Operations Manager (formerly Microsoft Operations Manager--MOM) 2007.

The idea is a good one. Because most of Microsoft's enterprise management servers are too complex and expensive for SMBs, SCE will allow these companies to get the benefits of Operations Manager without having to invest in IT staff hiring and training. From a solution provider standpoint, SCE offers the same benefits as Windows Small Business Server (SBS) and Microsoft's upcoming midmarket line of server products and provides an ongoing revenue stream from new customer relationships.

Although SCE isn't publicly available yet, you can attempt to join the private beta via the Microsoft Web site. A public beta is expected later this year.

Other Microsoft Developments It's been a busy, busy year for Microsoft releases. And although I don't have the space to write about all of these topics the way I'd like, here are a few more items you might be interested in:

- Microsoft is killing its line of Speech Server products and rolling the technologies into Office Live Communications Server 2007, which is due next year.

- Microsoft has been on a roll (the bad kind) this year with regards to security patches. The company has issued almost as many critical security patches in 2006 as it did in 2004 and 2005, and it's not even September yet. One of the August patches (MS06-040) was considered so serious that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a warning recommending that users install the patch as soon as possible.

- Microsoft has released a bit of information about Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Windows XP x64 Edition SP2 on its Windows Server blog. Find more information here:


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***From Windows IT Pro Roadshow Targets Oracle/SQL Server Interoperability Cross-platform experts from Scalability Experts and Solid Quality Learning will present interoperability tips to IT professionals and DBAs who work with Oracle or SQL Server in a one-day roadshow that kicks off September 7 in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by Oracle Magazine, Windows IT Pro, HP, Intel, and Microsoft, the show will feature information about the Windows 64-bit platform for database computing, an under-the-hood tour of Oracle and SQL Server, an overview of deploying highly available Oracle and SQL Server databases, guidelines for using SQL Server business intelligence on the Oracle platform, and a research-based session about how IT professionals can prepare for the changing database job market.

The roadshow will visit 12 cities between September 7 and October 24: Washington, D.C.; Boston; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago; St. Louis; Houston; Irvine, Calif.; San Francisco; Phoenix; New York; Atlanta; and Seattle. Attendees who register before August 25 will enter a drawing for a free iPod nano sponsored by Windows IT Pro. For complete agenda and speaker information, go to

Networking Perspectives: Server Virtualization and the x64 Platform
by Alan Sugano, [email protected]

As servers become more and more powerful, the x64 platform is a great fit for server virtualization. But there are pitfalls that can ruin your plans to run an x64 OS. Read more about them at the following URL:

------ Have a question? Got answers? Join your peers in the Windows IT discussion forums:
Current Threads:
SBS 2003 Locks Up
SBS 2003 CAL language question
Migrate to SBS from 2003

------ Tell us what you think in this month's Instant Poll:
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***New and Improved
by Samuel Davenport, [email protected]

Altiris Software Virtualization Solution Now Open for Development Altiris recently announced the release of its Software Virtualization Solution (SVS) API and an alternative third-party SVS UI called Trinket to the open-source development community. The SVS API is contained in Altiris's newest release of the SVS Software Development Kit (SDK), which also includes C header files, a lib file, documentation, and sample code. Developed and posted to by third-party developer LordJeb Software, Trinket, which nests in the PC system tray, provides end users with basic management tools such as application reset, activation, deactivation, and deletion for virtualized applications. The SVS SDK is available through Altiris's developer portal at You can download the Trinket open-source UI and contribute to its subsequent development at

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Events and Resources:

Exchange & Office 2007 Roadshow Coming to EMEA! Get the facts about deploying Exchange & Office 2007! You'll come away with a clear understanding of how to implement a best-practices migration to Exchange Server 2007 and how you and your end users can get the most out of Office 2007, and you'll learn more about Windows Vista.

Is your continuity solution letting you down? If you're not getting 100% coverage against lost or missing messages, even for short, unplanned outages, you might be jeopardizing your messaging system's integrity and your company's productivity. Learn how to manage disruptions to your messaging environment without breaking the bank in the process. View the on-demand Web seminar today!

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Incorporate Virtual Machines into Your Disaster Recovery Plan
Join us for this free Web seminar to learn how incorporating VMs into your disaster recovery plan can reduce your TCO by 50% or more, reduce hardware cost, and simplify management. Attend the live Web seminar and get your questions answered by industry leaders from VMware and CA XOsoft. Live Event: Tuesday, September 19.

Any unscheduled downtime--especially of your Exchange systems--can quickly affect your company's bottom line. Learn the essential skills to reduce downtime to minutes instead of hours.


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