Microsoft has started a testing program for its Virtual Server 2004, a software product that allows users to run different operating systems on a single hardware server.
The product has been made available to a select set of customers in what Microsoft calls a private beta, the company said.
One use of the server product that Microsoft has promoted is to help users migrate from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows Server 2003, the latest version of its server operating system. With Virtual Server, users will be able to run NT 4.0 on Windows Server 2003 and continue using applications developed for that older operating system.
Another use is to help customers migrate legacy applications and assist in consolidating applications onto fewer servers, Microsoft said.
Virtual Server is scheduled to ship in the first half of the year, a slight delay from the original plan to release the product in the final quarter of 2003. Pricing has yet to be announced.
Microsoft acquired Virtual Server along with two desktop virtualisation products in February last year from Connectix. Since the Connectix technology acquisition, Microsoft put Virtual Server through a security review and has added new features and functionality, the company said. Virtual PC 2004 and Virtual PC for Mac were released last year.