Microsoft quietly delivered a promised Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build of its server application virtualization technology just before Christmas.
Company officials said at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in October 2010 to expect CTP 1 of server app-virtualiztion before the end of 2010. The final version of the technology is still on track for delivery in the second half of 2011, execs said on December 22.
At the PDC, Microsoft published a lengthy laundry list of new cloud technologies the company was planning to roll out in test and final form in the coming year-plus. I believe the server app-virtualiztion component was the last of the expected deliverables to make it out before the year-end deadline.
In June 2010, Microsoft execs said to expect Server application virtualiztion to be delivered via System Center Virtual Machine Manager v.Next, due in the second half of 2011. (That product is expected to debut as SCVMM 2012 when it ships.)
Server application virtualization (Server App-V), as explained in a December 22 TechNet blog post, builds on the client App-V technology that Microsoft currently offers as part of its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). It will allow users to separate application configuration and state from the underlying operating system. As the post noted:
"This separation and packaging enables existing Windows applications, not specifically designed for Windows Azure, to be deployed on a Windows Azure worker role. We can do this in a way where the application state is maintained across reboots or movement of the worker role."
Server App-V converts traditional Windows Server 2008 apps into "state separated 'XCopyable' images without requiring code changes to the applications themselves," the Softies explained.
Server App-V is meant to be a complementary technology to the Windows Azure VM Role technology, a test version of which Microsoft delivered in November. The two technologies are aimed at allowing customers to host more of their legacy applications in the cloud.