While Microsoft is rolling out a number of test builds of various private-cloud building blocks this week, the company also is poised to deliver a beta of Server App-V, one of its public-cloud foundation technologies.
Microsoft posted for download on March 22 the documentation for its coming Microsoft Server Application Virtualization (Server App-V) beta technology.
Microsoft execs have been talking up Server App-V -- the final version of which the Redmondians are planning to deliver before the end of this calendar year -- since 2008.
I was under the impression -- as some others seemingly are -- that Microsoft somehow planned to make its System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 product the delivery vehicle for Server App-V. but Microsoft officials told me this isn't the case. In spite of the "VM" in its name, SCVMM is more about managing applications, rather than virtualizing them, Microsoft officials explained. And it turns out our understanding was correct. Yay!
Update (March 28): Actually, there are going to be two ways to get Server App-V. If you want to use it in the private cloud, SCVMM 2012 is the vehicle of choice. If you want to use it in/with the public cloud, Server App-V functionality will be added to Windows Azure before the end of calendar 2011. I tried to clarify this in a new blog post on Server App-V.
Server App-V enables customers to virtualize application images on a Windows Azure worker role (single role, single instance) without rewriting them or packaging them within a virtual machine. Once the application is deployed this way, customers take advantage of the the automated service management capabilities of Windows Azure, including automatic configuration and ongoing operating system management. In other words, from a System Center Team Blog post, "Microsoft Server Application Virtualization converts traditional server applications into state separated "XCopyable" images without requiring code changes to the applications themselves, allowing you to host a variety of Windows 2008 applications on Azure."
Server App-V builds on the client application virtualization technology that Microsoft currently makes available as part of its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), company officials have said.
Server App-V and the coming Azure VM role technology are both examples of some of the first infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) technologies from Microsoft. Windows Azure is more of a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) platorm.
Microsoft delivered a first Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Server App-V in December 2010. The documentation posted on March 22 refers to a March beta of the technology (which isn't yet out, as of the time I'm posting is part of the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Beta 2, which Microsoft made available for download this week). The final version of Server App-V is due to be released in the second half of calendar 2011.