I must admit, if it was strictly a decision made based on PR, VMware would be the only possible solution for business enterprises looking to implement virtual machines and manage their own private cloud. I get any number of emails every week from vendors who want to talk about how their products are enhancing the VMware experience and how their own product will drive cloud adoption. Sometimes I wonder if the people writing those emails realize that there is a real person at the other end and that the use of SEO keywords in their emails to me makes all the emails sound alike.
For the most part, Microsoft has been continually improving their virtual machine infrastructure and keeping it under the radar. A good example of this is the very quiet release this week of the System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal 2.0 SP1 beta. SCVMMSP has been a big step forward in making VMs on Microsoft's Hypervisor a much more usable solution in large enterprises, and the SP1 release will continue to increase the usability and value of the tool.
In my view, the single most important feature of SP1 is the ability to import virtual machines that were created outside of the self-service portal (for example, those that were created before the portal became available) and that are managed by SCVMM, allowing existing VMs to be added to the inventory of SSP managed services. The service pack also includes improved notification services, the ability to move VM infrastructures between business units, and a time limit for VMs that can auto-delete an expired VM once that limit has been reached, simplifying resource management.
Microsoft is out there and active in the datacenter, preparing the way for smooth integration of cloud services into Windows Server dominated businesses. Sometimes it's just hard to tell. If you're interested in the VMMSSP SP1 beta, it's available via Microsoft Connect.