Microsoft taps virtualization to move apps to cloud

Windows Azure Virtual Machine role enables migration of existing Windows Server systems

Microsoft is looking to make it easier to move existing Windows Server applications to the company's Windows Azure cloud platform via virtual machine technology.

The company unveiled this week Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role, intended to ease migration of these applications by eliminating the need to make costly application changes. Customers would get the benefit application management costs by moving software to the cloud, said Jamin Spitzer, Microsoft director of platform strategy.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Microsoft this week emphasized Azure and shared more details on Office 365 at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Redmond, Wash. | Use server virtualization to get highly reliable failover at a fraction of the usual cost. Find out how in InfoWorld's High Availability Virtualization Deep Dive PDF special report. ]

"I think Virtual Machine Roles get customers and partners more comfortable with Windows Azure as a platform," Spitzer said.

Virtual Machine Role leverages Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technology. A public beta release of Virtual Machine Role is due by the end of 2010.

Microsoft announced Virtual Machine Role at PDC. The company at the event also reiterated its support for Java on Azure, intending to make it a "first class citizen" on the cloud and stressed efforts to improve Eclipse tooling for Azure. "It will get even better than it is today," Spitzer said.

Improved Java enablement is due in 2011.

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