I don't think Microsoft is "in it to win it" with Virtualization anymore. Mike Neil, GM of "Virtualization Strategy" announced today that Microsoft isn't putting out a beta of Windows Server Virtualization until Longhorn Server RTMs (which is in November, the last I heard). On top of that, they're going to be cutting some of the features they touted the most in previous public demonstrations; features such as live migration, hot-adding resources, and support for extreme multicore.
Now, normally this wouldn't be a huge deal, but it shows a larger pattern of malaise from the Virtualization group at Microsoft. As I understand it, Microsoft has
outsourced offshored the entire development of both Virtual PC and Virtual Server to India, and Microsoft has all but abandoned future versions of that platform. In case that I wasn't clear, that means that those products will be in "servicing" mode (security bugs only) after Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 RTMs. This accounts for the fact that Virtual Server 2005 has been itself extensively delayed, and both platforms have not been advanced enough to compete with VMWare. While at one point it seemed that Microsoft was competitive, now they're being left in the dust.
(Offshoring it is not a bad thing, as great stuff comes out of Microsoft's operations in the East. But the core Connectix team is not working on VPC/VS anymore, and as of right now new versions will be bug fixes only.)
This "resources" thing is a load of crap. If Microsoft really saw virtualization as "the next frontier", they would bring all their weight to bear on the market, and blow the competition away. Instead, they're satisfied to outsource and kill their existing products and cut features to meet a deadline that was apparently too ambitious for the team. Actions are clearly speaking louder than words here, and Microsoft is headed for a really embarrassing loss.
There was a point when I was really excited about what Microsoft was doing with Virtualization. I'm not anymore. I can't afford to wait another year for a virtualization platform that's been delayed and castrated. I was just getting ready to deploy a new web server network on Virtual Server, in anticipation of WSV. Looks like I'm going to have to look into VMWare instead. XenSource is shipping now, maybe I should take a look at their platform too.
I had such high hopes. <sigh> Oh well.