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VMware et al. won't support Windows Server 2008 immediately

Microsoft's megalaunch notwithstanding, official support for Windows Server 2008 from VMware, Citrix and others will have to wait.

Microsoft's new Windows Server 2008 operating system should be available starting March 1, but VMware Inc., for one, won't officially support it on VMware ESX Server or on VMware Server until the third quarter – for at least another three months -- said Bogomil Balkansky, VMware senior director of product marketing.

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Support for Windows Server 2008 on VMware Workstation could come even later, said Balkansky, who noncommittally said that support would arrive "later this year." Host-based VMware Workstation is popular with system administrators and software developers, who often use it to test out new software or operating environments from their desktops.

At the same time, a recent CDW poll suggests that Longhorn deployments should begin quickly. It found that among 772 IT professionals, 63% will upgrade to W2K8 and 18% have already begun planning their implementation.

VMware won't officially support W2K8 on  ESX Server or on VMware Server for at least another three months.
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VMware competitors, such as Citrix Systems Inc. and Parallels/SWsoft, also expect to support Windows Server 2008 in relatively short order, but not immediately. Citrix plans to add Windows Server 2008 guest support to XenServer as soon as Microsoft ships the "final product bits," wrote Simon Crosby, Virtualization CTO at Citrix. "XenServer 4.1 has beta support for [Windows Server 2008] today. … When [Windows Server 2008 ships], Citrix will just need to do one more set of regression tests and move to be certified."

Similarly, Parallels Server beta and Parallels Desktop both have experimental support for W2K8, as does SWsoft/Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, said a company spokesperson, with plans to support W2K8 "as soon as possible."

Independent of a virtualization provider's official support for a product, platforms like VMware Workstation have become popular proving grounds for new software stacks and operating systems, and the release of Windows Server 2008 should be no different.

"Using virtualization for OS migrations and major upgrades has been a pretty popular use case for us," said VMware's Balkansky. Given that Microsoft has not released a major update to its server operating system since 2003, he said, "we do anticipate that a lot of customers will use [VMware] for their own internal certification."

Let us know what you think about the story; email Alex Barrett, News Director.

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