Microsoft Releases Final Beta Of Windows 7, Server 2008 R2 SP1

Release Candidate Server

SP1 includes two new virtualization features on the server side: Dynamic Memory, which allows memory on a physical host to be distributed to virtual machines running on that host, and RemoteFX, a set of desktop virtualization enhancements that allows video and other rich content to be delivered to desktops, laptops and thin clients.

Dynamic Memory fills a gap in Microsoft's virtualization lineup that rival VMware hasn't been shy about pointing out. Indeed, the two companies have been engaged in a low level skirmish over whose virtualization technology offers companies the best value. VMware leads the virtualization market by a wide margin, but Microsoft is chipping away at this lead by bundling features into the Windows Server OS and playing up the cost savings it can provide.

RemoteFX uses technology from Microsoft's 2008 acquisition of Calista Technologies and makes server-side GPUs appear to VDI clients as a local resource and extends rich media to thin clients. It's an enhancement to the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) in Remote Desktop Services (RDS, previously known as terminal services).

Microsoft says it plans to release SP1 for Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 sometime in the first half of next year, but there are indications that it could be unveiled along with Internet Explorer 9 next March at Microsoft's MIX 2011 event.

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The Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 download is available to the public here.