Microsoft Says Desktop Virtualization Is Costly, Inappropriate for Most

From DailyTech: Many in the tech community believe that virtualization is the wave of the future. It allows for hardware consolidation, power savings, legacy support – this all adds up to potentially increased productivity and cost savings. However, some are not wholeheartedly on the virtualization bandwagon.

Microsoft is among these detractors. Despite efforts to support virtualization and offering virtualization products, Microsoft remains reticent on the issue and has at times spoken out, in effect, against virtualization. Ultimately, if everyone were to switch to thin-client desktops with virtualization (ala a widespread cloud computing scheme), Microsoft might make considerably less revenue from its licenses as thin client licenses often cost less than "fat clients" like Microsoft Windows. Microsoft would be faced with trying to sell products for a new kind of ecosystem, one in which it is not necessarily the top competitor in.

With the impending release of Windows 7, Microsoft's anti-virtualization rhetoric is in full effect and is most vocally heard at its Windows 7 workshops, which are touring the country. At these workshops, titled "Windows and the Enterprise", it has accused virtualization of being a costly technique, inappropriate for most large businesses -- a commentary very much at odds with the perspective of many major players in the tech industry.

At a presentation in San Francisco, Microsoft officials said that Microsoft's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) might be appropriate for up to 100 machines. For users with more machines it says virtualization is generally a poor idea. These comments come despite the fact that Microsoft has large-scale virtualization projects with Citrix Systems.

According to virtualization advocates, Microsoft's commentary is based on some accurate facts but is generally misleading. Virtualization, according to supporters, does place heavier demands on computing resources at data centers, where most of the processing is offloaded. Despite the numerous benefits in efficiency this can bring, it does require an infrastructure shift and can place stress on corporate data centers. Furthermore, as more process-vital information is being relayed over the network, network integrity also becomes increasingly important.

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