By Jennifer LeClaire / Top Tech News. Updated January 22, 2008.
Microsoft has offered new details about its plans to move more deeply into the virtualization market where VMware is king. Virtualization, Redmond said, is key to its vision of what it calls Dynamic I.T.
Toward that end, Microsoft announced plans to acquire Calista Technologies. According to Microsoft, the buyout is aimed at improving the end-user experience for virtualized desktops and applications. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In addition, Microsoft announced an expanded alliance with Citrix Systems in the areas of client and server virtualization. And the software giant said it plans more flexible licensing options for virtualization with Windows Vista and new tools to deploy its virtualization software.
Microsoft's Dynamic I.T.
Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the server and tools business at Microsoft, said that few customers are able to reap the benefits of virtualization today because it is too cost-prohibitive and complex.
"Our approach is not only one of the most comprehensive in the market today, but we believe it is also one of the most economical," Muglia said in a statement. "This combination brings a big strategic advantage and cost savings to customers."
Microsoft's plans for virtualization are a key part of the company's overall vision and long-term strategy. The goal of what the company calls Dynamic I.T. is to deliver computing resources anytime and anywhere, and to create an I.T. environment that is more efficient, flexible, and cost-effective.
Microsoft said its strategy for client and server virtualization is to provide the best value in the industry with a complete set of solutions from the desktop to the data center. For example, customers can virtualize nearly all components of their desktop -- including the operating system, applications, data, and preferences -- and make them accessible from practically any machine.
Optimizing the Data Center
These initiatives put Microsoft on course to optimize its virtualization offerings, said Roger Kay, president and founder of Endpoint Technologies Associates. In particular, he noted, Microsoft's work with Citrix to provide a flexible combination of desktop and thin client infrastructure will help customers satisfy a range of distributed workforce requirements.
"Through integrated systems management, a broad portfolio of Microsoft and partner applications built on Windows Server 2008, a worldwide partner ecosystem to deliver solutions, and tailored licensing provisions, the company aims to bring the benefits of virtualization to mainstream customers," Kay said in a statement.
Frank Gillett, a server-virtualization analyst at Forrester Research, called Microsoft's announcement significant. However, he added, beyond the acquisition news, the announcement is merely a review of what Redmond is already doing in the virtualization realm.
"Today is a coming-out party for Microsoft," Gillett said. "Obviously, VMware and the market [are] demonstrating that virtualization is how the data center is going to work. The x86 server is the jumping-off point for a lot of enterprise customers who didn't pick up on some of the other parallel technologies like storage virtualization or data-center automation. It's a catalyst to get people to understand and rethink their approach to I.T. infrastructure."