Microsoft Corp. today announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) of MicrosoftÂ® Virtual PC 2004, a desktop virtual machine solution to help technical professionals migrate legacy applications toWindowsÂ® XP. Scheduled to be available by the end of 2003, Microsoft Virtual PC offers customers a cost-effective safety net to ease their migration to Microsoft Windows XP Professional and a toolto help accelerate the development, testing, deployment and support of PC applications. Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 allows enterprise customers to run multiple operating systems on one PC, so employeescan run critical legacy applications on an interim basis while information technology (IT) professionals proceed with the migration to Windows XP Professional.
“Our enterprise customers have told us that virtual machine technologies are crucial for their migration needs,” said Rob Short, corporate vice president in the Windows division at Microsoft. “Microsoft Virtual PC allows those customers to benefit from the gains in reliability, security and productivity of Windows XP, while also being able to run their critical legacy applications.”
Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 marks Microsoft’s entry into the Windows-based virtual machine arena. The product is built on virtualization technology that Microsoft acquired in February 2003 from Connectix Corp., a company at the forefront of virtual machine development since 1988. Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 reflects Microsoft’s commitment to develop innovative software virtualization solutions for the Windows operating system platform based on Connectix products and technologies. Since the Connectix acquisition, Microsoft rearchitected Virtual PC and conducted rigorous testing to ensure that the product meets Microsoft’s security and reliability standards.
“We have had tremendous success using Virtual PC in the past and look forward to continued success with Microsoft Virtual PC 2004,” said Lenny Goodman, desktop management director at Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. “We have already begun testing Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 in order to migrate all 5,300 of our PCs to Windows XP Professional. And because Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 will allow us to run all the necessary legacy applications, we expect the product to achieve significant savings in hardware costs and manpower.”
“We are pleased to see Microsoft’s commitment to virtual machine technology and innovation,” said Randy Robinson, vice president of Information Technology at UnumProvident Corp. “Using Virtual PC technologies to support critical legacy applications has already saved us millions of dollars, and we hope to save even more with Microsoft Virtual PC 2004.”
Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 also offers customers the benefit of rapid reconfiguration. The software can enhance the productivity of technical support, help desk or call center employees by enabling them to easily switch among operating systems without logging in and out between calls. In training scenarios, Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 allows instructors to rapidly reconfigure custom environments and run multiple operating systems on one PC, lowering operating costs.
Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 is also designed to accelerate software testing by allowing developers to test and debug their software for multiple platforms in a timely and cost-effective manner, all on one PC, improving both software quality and time to market.
New and Carry-Over Virtual Machine Features
New features of Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 include support for as many as four network adapters per virtual machine, all through the graphical user interface; Extensible Markup Language (XML) file-based configuration of virtual machines to ease the copying of a virtual machine to another computer; and support for up to 4 GB of memory. More memory makes it possible to run more operating systems simultaneously and improves the performance of operating systems with larger memory requirements.
Key features carried over from the former Connectix product include Virtual Machine Additions, which provides a high level of integration between host and guest operating systems, including integrated mouse, time synchronization, cut-and-paste, drag-and-drop, and folder sharing; Undo Disks, which allows users to delete any changes they make to the virtual hard disk during a session; and Differencing Disks, which lets multiple users and multiple virtual machines use the same parent virtual hard disk at the same time.
Microsoft Virtual PC also runs most x86 operating systems in the virtual machine environment with no need for custom drivers. This extensive compatibility positions customers to migrate legacy applications and consolidate desktops for dramatic cost savings.
Virtual PC Availability and Pricing
Microsoft announced pricing for Microsoft Virtual PC 2004, offering savings for enterprise customers. Microsoft’s version of the software will be available for an estimated retail price of $129 (U.S.),* a drop from the former Connectix price of $229. Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 will be made available later this year through Microsoft’s existing retail and volume licensing channels. It also will be included in Microsoft’s MSDNÂ® subscriptions, and volume discounts are available through Microsoft’s Open, Select and Enterprise Agreement volume licensing programs. Microsoft will offer a free** upgrade to current Connectix Virtual PC customers when Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 is released later this year.