I’m Zane Adam, sr. director of virtualization strategy here in Redmond at Microsoft. I’m writing today to announce the exciting news that we’ve released to manufacturing (RTM’d) System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 and to talk a bit about its critical role in the broad set of virtualization offerings from Microsoft. 

Recently, I returned from a trip abroad where I attended some of our international getVirtualnow launch events which initially kicked off with our September launch event in Bellevue.  During this world tour I had the opportunity to visit with customers and partners from a variety of countries, having some great discussions with them.  As I talked to representatives from large and small companies, I heard a consistent theme that all these groups are looking to aggressively manage costs and improve operational efficiency, and partners are also looking for ways of helping customers do so.  The timing of these conversations couldn’t have come at a better time as I was able to share with them how the broad set of Microsoft virtualization software addresses these areas.  First, I was able to talk to these customers about the fact that they can acquire our virtualization offerings for about 1/3 the cost of what a comparable VMware installation would cost, helping them realize immediate cost reduction benefits.  The portfolio of technologies we offer spans the entire IT infrastructure from the desktop to the datacenter, while providing the tools for managing a customer’s infrastructure and apps regardless of whether it’s their physical or virtual assets. Additionally, because the solutions we’re delivering are based on Windows, customer and partners can take advantage of the skills and knowledge they already have when implementing, developing to, or managing our virtualization offerings helping to save them both money and time.

As I mentioned, our virtualization solutions span the desktop to the data center including the management tools required to ensure that virtualization remains an asset and doesn’t become an unwieldy burden.  On the server we have Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and also Hyper-V Server, our standalone hypervisor, we recently released in September.  We’re seeing rapid adoption of Microsoft server virtualization solutions and IDC recently released findings showing Microsoft's Hyper-V delivering a strong showing, and when combined with Virtual Server 2005, helped Microsoft to capture 23% of new license shipments in 2Q 2008. On the desktop we have application, desktop and presentation solutions enabling customers to choose the level of desktop virtualization. The recently released Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 helps IT support large-scale virtualization implementations across many sites with various delivery options including over the Internet.  Last, but certainly not least, is System Center suite of management tools, which provide not only the tools for managing traditional physical IT infrastructure and apps but also virtualized environments.  Whether it’s deploying and managing virtualized desktops and servers with Configuration Manager, monitoring apps and systems across the IT environment and into virtual machines with Operations Manager, or backing up and protecting both physical and virtualized data or apps with Data Protection Manager, System Center provides the broad set of tools to address these needs for IT.  Of course today’s announcement of the RTM of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 extends the management benefits of System Center even further by enabling not only the management of Microsoft virtualized environments, but also VMware ESX as well.

We’re already hearing of great results from customers broadly implementing our virtualization solutions like some at Indiana University, who has been consolidating their physical servers onto virtual machines rapidly using these technologies, freeing up hardware, lessening space requirements and reducing electrical and cooling costs. Janssen Jones, Associate Director of Auxiliary IT Infrastructure at Indiana University has provided a guest blog post here with information on his group’s experience and the results they’re seeing where their workloads are now 75% virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V with plans to be 90% by the end of this year.  Janssen talks about how they’re consolidating virtual machines at a ratio of about 10-1 and how they’ve been able to remove about 40 of their existing physical servers.  There are already a slew of other customers, including names such as Costco, Land O’ Lakes, or Saxo Bank, that are already talking about the benefits they’re experiencing by deploying Microsoft virtualization solutions, which can be found in our case study library.

The response from our partners has been gratifying as well, including the participation in our September launch event where broad offerings and support were announced.  To mention just a few, we’ve seen Citrix, Dell, HP, SAP and Symantec demonstrating their support for our virtualization offerings from the desktop through the data center as well for our management offerings.  More directly related to today’s news of the RTM of SCVMM 2008, I’m excited to say that we are already are seeing support for SCVMM 2008 from our OEM partners.  Fujitsu and Hitachi participated in our virtualization launch event in Japan last week and both publicly stated that they intend to make bundles of their hardware and SCVMM 2008 available in the coming months.

We’re excited to see the partner and customer adoption of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008.  We’ve already seen hundreds of our early deployment customers use either the beta or release candidate version of VMM to manage their Hyper-V deployments.  They are seeing the many cost reduction and management simplification benefits of Hyper-V and the SCVMM 2008 integration with the rest of System Center.   Now that RTM is official, I fully expect the rate of Hyper-V deployments to further accelerate.  Through the SCVMM 2008 console, administrators can see the entirety of their data center infrastructure – physical or virtual. SCVMM 2008 facilitates key functions like P2V (physical to virtual) migration, Intelligent Placement (selecting the best virtual host for a VM), and managing Hyper-V host clusters, to name just a few.  SCVMM 2008 works closely with its siblings – particularly SC Ops Mgr – in identifying consolidation candidates and in Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO), a new feature in which SCVMM 2008 can alert and recommend solutions to administrators about failing virtual machines or hardware.  As I mentioned above, this comprehensive view extends throughout the data center as SCVMM 2008 is capable of seeing and managing VMware ESX infrastructure through Virtual Center.  I hope you download SCVMM 2008 today and give it a try. Additional information, including a link to download an evaluation version is available here and it will be generally available for purchase as of November 1.

Thanks for your time and sharing in the excitement we’re seeing around Microsoft’s virtualization solutions.