Microsoft denies any delay for its virtualization administration tools (updated)

According to information published by the Microsoft System Center team on their blog, the publisher decided to postpone the launch of Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (originally expected before the end of September) until the fourth quarter. After checking with the publisher, VMM 2008 is expected to be ready very early in October, following the final tests and validations. The blog provides a good news: Giving in to the demand of users, the software should be available as part of SMSE as well as on its own. It also talks a little about the price of these tools.

At the launch of its Windows hypervisor Hyper-V, Microsoft announced the launch of its administration tools for virtual environments within 90 days of Hyper-V. Theoretically, the publisher should have delivered Virtual Machine Manager 2008, equivalent to Hyper-V Virtual Center for VMware ESX Center, before the end of September.

In a post published yesterday on their blog (link here), the System Center team seems to suggest that the arrival of VMM 2008 is slightly delayed because Diane Prescott, a product manager usually in charge of licensing, said that VMM 2008 will be available in the last quarter.

The blog appears to have surprised even Microsoft since, in France, most of the company’s partners are still preparing for a launch and since preparations for the tools’ new training programs are in full swing. When contacted by phone, Jennifer Koehler, product manager of the System Center for Microsoft France, has indicated to us that Microsoft has indeed decided to delay the launch of the software a week or two: “We had anticipated the end of September; it will be early in October, after the necessary validations and testing.”

But if Microsoft misses the window at the beginning of the quarter, it could use the conference Tech Ed Europe – IT Professionals, which takes place in Barcelona from November 3 to November 7, as a platform for the launch. In the meantime, users must continue to use the latest beta software as well as the patch to manage the final version of Hyper-V.

Two products instead of one

Other than the speculations concerning the launch date, the blog of the System Center team provides valuable information on how Microsoft intends to market the software. The publisher appears to have yielded to the demand of its users and offers VMM 2008 not only as part of the SMSE (System Center Management Suite Enterprise Server) as originally planned, but also as a standalone product.

SMSE is an administration suite of the publisher and includes System Center Operations Manager 2007, System Center Configuration Manager 2007, System Center Data Protection Manager 2007, and the current VMM 2007. At the launch of VMM 2008, the latter will be incorporated into the suite to replace the 2007 edition. On this occasion, Microsoft is expected to increase the price of the suite by 10 to 15%. VMM 2008 will be proposed separately at a price near that of the former SMSE, that is, about $1,290 per administered server (plus $468 for two years of Software Assurance).

Note that VMM2008 alone makes sense only in certain cases. To benefit from the performance optimization and resource management functions, or to use the snapshot or backup functions of virtual environments, you need other SMSE components (namely, Operations Manager and Data Protection Manager). Therefore, VMM 2008 alone will only be of interest to companies that already have tools for performance administration, metrology and backup for virtual machines and their servers.

Microsoft promises more information on the pricing of its administration solutions for virtual environments in August. The final prices of the products should be reported at their launch in October.

Thank you Christophe Bardy for providing the inspiration for this article.

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