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Microsoft Corp. is counting on next week’s release of its Virtual Server 2005 to entice users of older versions of Windows Server to migrate to Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft set Sept. 13 as the date for taking the wraps off of Virtual Server 2005, which is designed to allow customers to run multiple operating systems, including Linux and Unix, concurrently on a single Intel-based Windows Server 2003 system.

As company officials said earlier this year, MVS 2005 will come in two flavors: Standard and Enterprise. Microsoft revealed on Wednesday that Standard Edition, which will support up to four processors, will sell for an estimated retail price of $499.

Enterprise Edition, supporting up to 32 processors, will sell for an estimated retail price of $999. Both editions will be available within the next 30 days and will be licensed on a per-physical-server basis, according to the company.

Click here to eWEEK Labs review of Microsoft Virtual Server 2005.

Microsoft will tout MVS 2005, along with its Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 product, during a nation-wide road show that will kick off later this month in Phoenix. Both MOM 2005 and MVS 2005 are considered pieces of Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI), Microsoft’s grand autonomic-computing plan.

Microsoft also is continuing work on a companion product, its Virtual Server Migration Toolkit (VSMT). The toolkit, currently in beta, “automates the migration of an operating system and installed applications from a physical server to a server running within a virtual machine that is provided and managed by Virtual Server 2005,” according to Microsoft’s VSMT Web page.

Microsoft officials have said that they expect MVS 2005 to aid users of older Windows Server releases in migrating to the Windows Server 2003 release, as well as in consolidating their systems.

Microsoft released Beta 1 of MVS 2005 in February, and the near-final “Release Candidate” beta of MVS 2005 in June. Microsoft released to manufacturing MVS 2005 on August 3.

In February 2003, Microsoft acquired the VM (virtual machine) assets of Connectix Corp., a privately held company in San Mateo, Calif., that has been involved in VM technology since its inception in 1988.

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