Microsoft kicks off Tech-Ed with license and virtualization upgrades

Microsoft boosts virtualization support for Exchange 2010

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Microsoft opened its latest Tech-Ed conference by announcing better virtualization support for Exchange 2010, new licensing options for cloud deployments, and information about customers and partners using and supporting Hyper-V. 

Customers HSBC and Travelocity are among the big names using Microsoft's virtualization software, while NetApp and Cisco have joined a partner program Microsoft designed to help customers build private clouds with Hyper-V. 

Virtual rivalry: Microsoft says VMware customers are 'Windows customers first'

Microsoft's virtualization efforts are targeted at taking customers away from VMware, which has made a tidy business selling software to run Microsoft applications on virtualized hardware. (VMware, by the way, just said it will acquire Shavlik Technologies to boost IT management and virtualization security.)

Microsoft's Exchange team announced today that it is offering support for a Unified Message server role for virtualized instances of Exchange 2010 and a white paper describing best practices for virtualizing Exchange with Hyper-V. 

Additionally, Microsoft said "Combining Exchange 2010 high availability solutions (database availability groups (DAGs)) with hypervisor-based clustering, high availability, or migration solutions that will move or automatically failover mailbox servers that are members of a DAG between clustered root servers, is now supported."

Although Microsoft claims Hyper-V is the best software for virtualizing Exchange and other Microsoft software, the company said the new support guidance applies to any vendor participating in the Windows Server Virtualization Validation Program, which does include rival VMware and the likes of Red Hat, Citrix, Oracle, Parallels and Cisco. 

Also at Tech-Ed, Microsoft said that beginning July 1 customers who pay for Software Assurance will be given new license mobility options "with the flexibility to deploy application services on-premises or through hosted service providers in the cloud." Although the license updates don't take effect just yet, they were first unveiled a couple of months ago and cover Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server and other software. Further, the next version of Microsoft Visual Studio will include new Application Lifecycle Management technologies to make app development and management easier. 

IDG News Service reporter Joab Jackson is tracking Tech-Ed and has a story about the vendor Kemp Technologies load balancing Exchange 2010 servers in virtualized environments. 

Tech-Ed North America started today in Atlanta and will continue until Thursday. You can find more about the conference at its website

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