Viridian remains Microsoft's virtualization priority, but that hasn't stopped the software maker from refining the existing Virtual Server package. Microsoft this week dumped a number of new virtualization tools in the final version of Service Pack 1 for Virtual Server 2005 R2.
First off, Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 boasts host operating system clustering support, which Microsoft rightly pitches as a system uptime win for virtual servers. "Host clustering is storage agnostic, comes with Windows Server 2003 Enterprise or Datacenter editions, and is a high-availability solution for both planned and unplanned downtime," a Microsoftee noted on his blog. "And with System Center Virtual Machine Manager, downloadable today as a beta 2 version, customers will have tools for high availability migration."
In addition, the fresh service pack brings the popular Volume Shadow Services to Virtual Server. This lets customers take snapshots of physical servers on-the-fly rather than suffering through downtime to perform full backups of individual virtual machines.
Customers will also find guest OS support for Novell SLES 10 and Solaris 10.
Virtual Server exists as a stopgap before Microsoft releases its real VMware competitor code-named Viridian via an update to Windows Server 2008 - or the OS formerly known as Longhorn. In May, Microsoft confessed that feature-ripping had started with Viridian.
The new service pack is available at no charge here. ®