Microsoft to offer no-strings attached access to Windows Datacenter Server

Microsoft for the first time will begin selling directly to volume licensing customers the Datacenter version of its Windows server and also offer those users the right to run an unlimited number of virtualized servers.

The program will kick off Saturday and covers Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition running on hardware with two or more processors. Previously, users had access to multiprocessor Datacenter, the high-performance version of Windows, only as a hardware/software combination on servers preconfigured by OEMs.

Late last year, Microsoft announced it would allow customers to run for no extra charge a certain number of virtual machines on Windows depending on which version was deployed. Users will still have to license Microsoft’s Virtual Server 2005R2 software in addition to the Windows Server 2003 R2 license.

Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition supports x86/32-bit, x64/64-bit and IA64/64-bit platforms with two to 64 processors. The 64-bit versions support up to 1TB of RAM.

Microsoft competes in the virtualization software market with vendors such as VMWare, SW-Soft, and the Xen open source project, which Red Hat and Novell have adapted to their Linux platforms.

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This story, "Microsoft to offer no-strings attached access to Windows Datacenter Server" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.