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VMWare sees new competition

On December 13, Microsoft (MSFT) provided a press release, with a nod to the holidays, entitled "Microsoft Unwraps Virtualization Surprise."

The surprise is that the long-awaited virtualization solution from Microsoft is going into public beta. It is available as part of the download of certain versions of Windows Server 2008. The new product, now named Hyper-V, provides some of the same server virtualization functionality currently offered by VMWare and XenSource which is now owned by Citrix Systems (CTXS).

Some notable features are that Linux integration is available in beta today with other operating systems coming in future releases. This means that the Microsoft solution is not limited to running only Windows as a virtual environment. This takes away some of the advantages of VMWare (VMW) and XenSource which can virtualize Windows, Linux and Unix.

Hyper-V is now included by default in Windows Server manager, which means enabling virtualization is as easy as installing any other role. Microsoft is making it extremely easy for server administrators to just dial up Hyper-V and not have to worry about installing other companies products to enable virtualization.

As users begin to put the beta release through its paces, we will hear more on how well Microsoft's solution actually works. No doubt, there will be some kinks to work out.

In the meantime, it is clear that VMWare has a reason to begin looking over its shoulder. Competition is coming and it is no wonder the company's stock was under pressure yesterday.

Disclosure: author owns no shares of VMW, CTXS or MSFT

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