With an eye to beefing up server consolidation on Intel-based servers, Microsoft confirmed Wednesday that it has acquired some assets from partner Connectix, including its Virtual PC and Virtual Server products and many of its employees.
San Mateo, Calif.-based Connectix, which made its name with its Virtual PC software (a line that includes Virtual PC for Mac, Virtual PC for Windows and Virtual PC for OS/2) 14 years ago, has been working to recast itself as a server virtualization software provider with products like Virtual Server, launched in beta in November 2002.
Part of Microsoft's attraction to Connectix's technology may be because it adds depth to its forthcoming Windows Server 2003 family by allowing existing NT 4 customers to keep their NT 4 applications running as virtual machines. This makes the technology a ready-made ramp to migrate customers from NT 4 to the new Windows platform.
"Our customers told us they wanted a best-of-breed virtual machine solution that enables them to run their legacy Windows applications, even as they migrate to more modern operating system technology," said Bill Veghte, corporate vice president of the Windows Server Group at Microsoft. "With this acquisition, we are committed to delivering this solution for our customers and providing the support they need both today and in the future."
Virtual Server is a key component of the play because by integrating the technology with its Windows source code, Microsoft can enable more efficient partitioning on its servers and also give its Windows Server lineup a boost in competing with more traditional choices for server consolidation, like high-end Unix machines and IBM's Linux offerings.
Connectix describes Virtual Server as a native Windows-based server application that allows users to run a broad range of server operating environments, including as Windows, Linux, UNIX, OS/2 and DOS, concurrently on a single physical server, within isolated virtual machines.
Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft plans to continue sales and development of Virtual PC for Mac.
"Adding Virtual PC to its product portfolio is yet another example of Microsoft's continued commitment to the Mac platform," said Ron Okamoto, vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations at Apple Computer. "For years, Virtual PC has helped people who want to own a Mac but need to run legacy PC applications. We're glad to see Virtual PC go into such good hands."
Microsoft completed the deal on Feb. 18, though it did not disclose financial details. The company also said it will make Virtual Server available as a preview release on April 15.
Microsoft will continue to develop of virtual machine solutions from Connectix and will integrate them into the Windows and Mac product portfolios. During the six-month transition period, Connectix will continue to sell and support Virtual PC for Windows, Virtual PC for Mac, and Virtual PC for OS/2 products through its current distribution channel partners.