Microsoft Windows Server Launch Date, And A Direct Shot At VMware

Windows Server 2012

And it's clear that Microsoft has VMware in its sights: At Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference Tuesday, the company unveiled a program aimed at helping channel partners get customers to switch from VMware's virtual infrastructure to Microsoft's cloud software.

"We've got great momentum building," said Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft's Server and Tools Business, urging partners in a keynote to take an aggressive stance to win over VMware users.

[Related: Windows 8 To Be Generally Available In Late October ]

Under the new "Switch to Hyper-V" program, Microsoft is offering training, tools and guidance that partners can use to convince customers to shift from VMware to Windows Server and its Hyper-V technology. One tool, for example, converts a VMware image to a Hyper-V format.

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The program, which Nadella said helps "take the risk out of these migrations," will help partners grow their virtualization, private and hybrid cloud computing practices.

While Windows Server is a stand-alone product, Microsoft is putting more emphasis on the product as part of a "holistic" lineup that includes the new releases of the SQL Server database and System Center management software that launched earlier this year, said Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of server and tools marketing, in an interview.

Along with Windows Server 2012's expanded virtualization capabilities, the new software offers features to take advantage of today's more powerful hardware, faster networks and lower storage costs, Numoto said. And it provides more ways for users with mobile devices to access server resources.

"We know there's an explosion of smart, connected devices out there, Numoto said. "And they all have to be fed."

Microsoft also is offering a community technology preview (CTP) release of new technologies for hosting service providers that let's them use their Windows Server data centers to deliver capabilities consistent with some of the new services offered in Windows Azure.

Hosting service provider Go Daddy already is testing out Windows Server 2012 and the new Service Management Portal. Deploying the software took only two weeks, said Scott Brown, Go Daddy vice president of product development, hosting, in an interview at the Worldwide Partner Conference.

Go Daddy is still evaluating the software and Brown said it's too soon to determine the company's long-range Windows Server 2012 plans. But he said the server shows early promise in its improved performance, scalability and density -- its ability to handle more customer accounts per server.