Server virtualization has big advantages and more and more companies are deploying virtual servers to more effectively manage their server infrastructure. In fact at Windowsnetworking.com we run many of our servers virtualized.
VMware is the de facto ‘standard’ in the virtualization market. Microsoft entered the market in 2004 with a virtualization product, but it was largely inferior to VMware and therefore not so popular. However, recent versions have improved markedly. Interestingly, Vista will include a version of Virtual PC.
Until now you still needed to license the operating system for each virtual machine. And this is the interesting news: Windows server 2003 & Longhorn server enterprise edition will allow you to run up to 4 virtual servers (for 2003/Longhorn enterprise) & unlimited virtual servers (for Long Horn datacenter) without incurring additional operating system licensing costs. That means you can run up to 5 servers on a single piece of hardware & on a single Windows server license (albeit an enterprise edition). The savings can be considerable. Check out this article for more information: http://www.virtualization.info/2006/01/microsoft-longhorn-datacenter-server.html
If you haven’t gotten in to server virtualization yet, its time to start thinking about it….